Because we are always preoccupied with our daily work routine and achieving ambitious targets, leaving time to create new business opportunities or new ways of serving clients is often considered a stretch goal. However, as competition for cost-effective expertise increases, lawyers and consultants can leverage technology to offer their services at a fraction of the cost - bringing in more clients and gaining a competitive edge.
Legal Design Thinking is an approach that focuses on the client or customer and tries to get to the bottom of their real needs by using creative methods. Ultimately, Legal Design Thinking aims at generating ideas, making these ideas tangible through prototypes, and to constantly improve and refine these ideas until a viable business model is defined.
Learn how to apply Legal Design Thinking
According to IDEO CEO Tim Brown – the global design firm that has been decisive in the development and dissemination of the approach – “design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
One key element is empathy and impersonating the customers by creating "Personas" or even by simple role playing. Diving completely into the customer's view, the participants should explore the problem from the customer's perspective and find solutions and business opportunities. The following image illustrates the “Double Diamond Approach” which incorporates Design Thinking Steps:
At BRYTER, we have used Legal Design Thinking internally and with our customers in order to gain a better understanding of their clients’ needs and recommend the following steps:
Clarify who the actual customer or key stakeholder is
This first step might be particularly difficult. Whereas law firms may often consider the legal department of corporates (or their counsels) as their clients, the real business value lies often with the commercial stakeholders within the corporate. For example, an employee in need of expert advice or legal service who only contacts in in-house legal team rather than an external law firm. Therefore, a person the law firm tends to have little knowledge of.
Design Thinking encourages you to dig deep in order to identify the actual stakeholders who ultimately produce value.
Define the key stakeholder or customer
To be able understand and empathize with your key stakeholder, they need to be less abstract. One method to make them tangible is to define their so-called "Persona" by filling out the template "Persona Canvas" and create actual persons with i.e. name, age and a certain position, who serve as role models for the client.
Explore the problems the personas might face
It is important to restrain the participants from thinking about solutions at this point since you are still trying to identify the right problem. During this step, you should continue to think about the problems you have discovered through the Persona Canvas. After capturing all the ideas, you can start to prioritize the identified problems and clearly define the main pain points for your key stakeholders.
Find requirements and solutions (by embracing the view of your persona)
During this step, you can start to develop and design solutions by leveraging the "user story" pattern template. It describes functions/requirements/possible solutions from your persona’s perspective and focuses on the immediate (business) value. By embracing your persona’s perspective, you can I, as a [role] want to [function/requirement] in order to [get a value]. These can be created from the perspective of the different Personas, which were defined in the previous steps.
The next step is now to find BRYTER use cases based on the requirements and explore real world examples.