Novel Research from Baretz+Brunelle’s  NewLaw Practice: Why Are Some Law Firms Innovative and Others Are Not?

by | Nov 8, 2021

Why do some law firms have great success getting their lawyers to adopt and participate in the firm’s innovative initiatives, but others do not? That is the central question addressed in Part II of the novel report released today by Baretz+Brunelle’s NewLaw Practice:If You Build It, Will They Come? A Research Report on the Internal Adoption of Innovation by Law Firms.

In the report, Baretz+Brunelle’s NewLaw team identifies specific attributes shared by law firms that have attained the most success in achieving firmwide adoption of NewLaw initiatives. The report analyzes, among other factors, what separates the firms that have superior adoption rates (Mature Firms) from their peers (Immature Firms). To continue with the “Field of Dreams” analogy, the Mature Firms are the ones that have shown up to play and are getting on base versus those that are stuck in the dugout.

“Whereas some have previously had the luxury of ignoring the challenges of implementing NewLaw initiatives, many law firm leaders now acknowledge the reality of the situation,” said Brad Blickstein, partner and co-head of Baretz+Brunelle’s NewLaw practice group. “Adoption of innovation is a red-hot topic right now that few can afford to ignore. But by incorporating improved processes, better use of data, technology tools, and alternative staffing models, law firms can overcome the looming existential threats through new legal service delivery models.”

The report examines how pervasive each attribute was among the 44 firms that responded to the survey and identifies the 15 factors, called the “Effective Adoption Attributes” (EAA), shared by law firms that have attained the most success in achieving firmwide adoption of NewLaw initiatives. Of the 15 EAAs identified, four stand out as differentiators that are much more common at Mature Firms:

Financial incentives (63% at Mature Firms vs. 36% at Immature Firms);

Branding (72% vs. 57%);

Consistent outreach (91% vs. 79%); and

Inclusiveness (55% vs. 30%).

Training is also a big differentiator. Mature Firms are three times less likely than Immature Firms to primarily train on an ad hoc basis, and twice as likely to train monthly or quarterly.

“Our goal in conducting this groundbreaking research was to shine a light on firms succeeding in law firm innovation and to provide a toolkit for those that are behind,” said Beatrice Seravello, partner and co-head of Baretz+Brunelle’s NewLaw practice group. “We know developing or relaunching innovation initiatives can be daunting, so these findings can serve as a roadmap that can be woven into a firm’s culture to help build a foundation for success.”

Part II of the report and the research methodology is accessible online here.

About Baretz+Brunelleand Its NewLaw Practice Group

Launched in early 2020, Baretz+Brunelle’s NewLaw practice helps law firms thrive in the rapidly transforming legal industry. It is headed by partners Brad Blickstein, the publisher of the long-running and influential Annual Law Department Operations Survey, and Beatrice Seravello, who previously served in a variety of C-suite roles at Am Law 100 firms.

Baretz+Brunelle helps businesses throughout the evolving legal marketplace to Stand Above. Our clients include elite law firms, premier legal tech companies, innovative alternative legal services providers and leading consulting firms. We provide corporate communications, digital marketing and NewLaw services with a laser-like focus on achieving our clients’ business goals. For more than 20 years, we have helped our clients build brands, protect reputations, raise profiles, improve operations, enter new markets, launch new products and services, announce mergers and manage crises. With offices in New York, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Richmond, Va., and Washington, our team is made up of marketing and communications veterans, journalists, lawyers, chief operating officers and law department experts. We have been named the Best PR Firm in the U.S. for Law Firms by The National Law Journal, the Best PR Firm for Law Firms by the New York Law Journal, and the Best Crisis Management Firm by Legal Times. For more information, visit www.baretzbrunelle.com.

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