are exciting but can be a little scary. Will robots take over
our jobs? Should law firms invest heavily in research and
development labs to stay ahead? Will lawyer jobs completely go away or will we see a dramatic lessening of demand?
While it’s normal to question these things, technological
advancements should never be taken as a threat. Technology
will always fall short of interpreting, processing and delivering human emotion, which are critical components of building trust and doing business. Even if computers show emotions in the future, they will not be able to replicate quality
Rather than being viewed as a threat, technology should
be seen as an opportunity and a continuation of legal work.
The deployments of new technologies are plenty, and they
are not going away. But don’t rush to invest in new technol-
ogy without a sound decision-making process. Finding the
right balance between tech and humans can be challenging.
Design thinking is a strategy that is fast emerging in the le-
gal industry. It is an innovation methodology composed of
a series of steps for generating options, testing strategies
and getting feedback. Done right, it can help organizations
adapt to both technical and industry challenges using struc-
tured analysis to feed decision-making.
So how can the legal industry learn from this and offer
Companies like Apple Inc., Samsung, PepsiCo, Google
and General Electric have already embraced the concept
of design thinking, and it’s now catching on in the legal in-
dustry, as evidenced by Stanford Law School’s Legal Design
Lab. But it’s still in the infancy stage in law firms while very
much alive in other industries. Margaret Hagan, the director
of Stanford’s lab, first thought of bringing the design concept
The American Lawyer | November 2018 13
For law firms, design thinking offers a new path forward.
By Ioana Good