Balancing the Scales: Innovation in the Legal Sphere

By Henry Crabtree

Posted on

In an October 14th 2022 article, the FT outlined how some law firms are finding a balance between industry pressures and their innovation programs. In this blog, we highlight how using Wazoku’s secure and collaborative platform and services can help firms to lead the way in innovation, legal tech, and horizon scanning.


How do you encourage an industry with its roots in Ancient Greece and Rome to adopt the latest technologies and innovations? According to the FT, you put trust in an organization’s people.

Over four examples of law firms that have taken steps to become more innovative, there is a common thread: fostering the good ideas and engagement of employees. While the legal profession is highly regimented with partner tracks, year rankings, and a clear chain of command, the newest or freshest employees will still have great ideas that can make a difference. At Wazoku, we believe in this democratization of the workplace where ideas can come from anywhere.

Our client Allen & Overy (A&O) have a top-down business principle that legal tech is now part of their role and a critical part of the future of the industry. Leveraging technology in this way is critical to solving common problems in law firms, including delivering legal advice, compliance issues, and making payment and billables more straightforward. The i2 team (Ideas and Investment) at Allen & Overy started working with Wazoku in 2017, encouraging a culture of innovation throughout the business, from grassroots through to senior leadership.

“We’ve formed a true partnership. We approach projects and learn together,” said Bea Schofield, Wazoku’s Head of Customer Success. “I’ve watched A&O develop i2 from a small in-house scheme to one of the world’s leading legal technology incubators.”

By breaking up silos and bringing greater transparency to the process, working with Wazoku has made it possible to embed innovation across the firm’s activities. Now, every member of A&O can be engaged in innovation: sharing their insights, commenting and building on ideas, and suggesting novel approaches to solving both industry and customer problems.

Nitish Upadhyaya, former Senior Innovation Manager for A&O, stated: “Leadership at A&O has a vision for the firm to become a second-generation innovation business – ultimately, the platform acts as an enabler, giving staff unprecedented access to innovation resources.”

Some of the law firms that the FT interviewed have novel ideas for how to foster a culture of innovation. Baker McKenzie, a Chicago-based firm with 77 offices in 46 companies, launched a ‘BakerNauts’ program where employees received innovation and skills training before tackling their clients’ biggest problems. 600 employees signed up for this challenge, with 100+ partners taking up the creative mantle to respond to changes in the industry with new ideas.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer moved all of their innovation, legal tech, service delivery, and project management into one team to achieve a more collaborative approach – with a dedicated innovation platform, you can achieve this even with decentralized teams. At Womble Bond Dickinson, the business has broken up its innovation goals into two tiers: the first around routine problem solving and their ideas for operational efficiency and automation; the second tier is for insights that may need insight from extra or outside stakeholders.

For DWF, moving to a listed company from a partnership meant a greater need for innovations to unlock long-term value. The innovation teams turned to ‘horizon scanning’ to spot emerging opportunities and market trends: a key facet of innovation that we service through our Scouting_360 features.

The Wazoku Platform can enable innovation for firms undertaking routine idea gathering, more detailed project work, and digital transformation overhauls. With always-on buckets for ideas as well as secure co-creation communities where external partners and the Wazoku Crowd can be leveraged for their problem-solving capabilities, Wazoku helps you innovate and collaborate safely and securely.

The pressures to innovate in law firms can come from numerous places. Changes in client demands since the pandemic, adoption of new and more efficient delivery models, and a raging battle for the most skilled candidates often become the most important drivers. How do you react to a change in the industry that requires new ways of working with customers, suppliers, and hiring and retention? Simple: you adopt a platform that enables all of this innovation in one place, with a clear methodology for turning problems into solutions.


Want to learn more about how Wazoku’s idea management and innovation platform and services can help in your industry? Contact us with more information here, or visit our industry pages to find out more!

By Henry Crabtree

Wazoku's Community Marketing Manager, Henry is also a life-long Manchester United fan - but we still love him, regardless. When he's not cheering the Reds on, he's working his way through an extensive reading list. Need a book recommendation? He's your man!