Try, try again – Lexpert Magazine

Terrence Burgoyne, Nathaniel Lipkus

Oct 18, 2016

The October 2016 issue of Lexpert Magazine features an article by freelance business and legal-affairs writer Bev Cline that examines a nascent trend in the legal industry: drawing on the example of design and technology companies, law firms are beginning to adopt an iterative thinking approach to the way they deliver services. In the article, Cline focuses on one such process known as “design thinking” which involves consulting with clients throughout the course of problem-solving – coming up with a solution, determining if it works for the client and then fine tuning it (or even starting from scratch) based on client feedback. One of the examples cited of law firms experimenting with the design thinking approach is the joint client/lawyer hackathon session hosted by Osler in February 2016 that focused on “empathy and push” to solve stakeholders’ real problems.

Terry Burgoyne, corporate partner and head of Osler’s practice management and innovation group, describes the hackathon by saying: “A lot of people think of Big Law as being sort of ivy-covered, and we can think of a hackathon as hacking away at some of the ivy to let in different light. … It involves trying to understand [clients’] pain points, what keeps them up at night, what would make their lives easier and better.”

Nathaniel Lipkus, Osler partner and intellectual property litigator, also participated in the session and offers the following insight: “What I learned from the design-thinking aspects of the hackathon that was most powerful, from a big firm perspective, is that we need to figure out ‘how do you actually learn to embrace failure in a way that doesn’t compromise your brand?’ If you can solve that problem, then the sky’s the limit.”

If you subscribe to Lexpert Magazine online, you can find out more about design thinking by reading Bev Cline’s full article “Try, try again” in the October 2016 issue.