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How to set an innovation strategy to level-up your law firm and in-house legal department

Practice with Innovation explained. How to set an innovation strategy to level-up your law firm and in-house legal department

After reading this article you will be able to

  • Understand what innovation means for legal teams
  • How to set an innovation strategy
  • Level up your work toward achieving innovation
  • Know top innovation strategy checklists 
  • Learn how to innovate your practice using App4Legal

Increased digitization and automation have changed the way in which legal practice management services are conducted. It leaves many legal professionals asking how does the future look like for lawyers and how to prepare for this change. The legal industry, like any other business, becomes more competitive, interconnected, and very complex. Lawyers need to be more innovative to survive. Innovation is not always an expensive exercise and the key is getting smart people to work on it, and reach out when you can.

App4Legal takes innovation very seriously and makes it a priority when coming to developing new features or adding an enhancement to the current features. The slogan “Practice with Innovation ” best describes the benefits App4Legal offers to our clients. It the centerpiece of our company identity. At App4Legal Innovation is defined as creating new ways that legal professionals can maximize their productivity, streamline daily work processes, increase client satisfaction, and maintain collaboration between internal and external parties. 

What is the meaning of innovation?

The word Innovation denotes the invention or making use of something new. It also includes the adoption of a new way of thinking. 

How to set an innovation strategy to a law firm 

First of all, what is an innovation strategy?

Innovation is amazing, but it means nothing if it doesn’t align with every part of a larger business plan. That’s why having an innovation strategy in place is very essential. An Innovation strategy is an organization’s commitment to a number of policies and actions in order to achieve clear, innovative objectives and goals. 

According to a recent PwC report, “the very first step to a strong innovation strategy in any law firm or legal department is to make sure you have a business strategy in place, with clear financial goals, performance indicators and critical success factors.” Once this is in place, then the innovation strategy must be aligned to fit your business strategy. That is to say, the innovation strategy should not be taken as a separate matter.

 Innovation Strategy Checklist

1- Set your innovation objectives

The first thing to start with is to decide the objectives and the purposes of your innovation strategy.

Few examples:

  • Is it to save lawyers time?
  • Is it to unplug and remove obstacles facing the legal bottle-neck in your organization?
  • Is it to speed up the delivery of legal service for clients?
  • Is it to save resources?
  • Is it to streamline client communication?

 And with such a wide range of legal practice innovations and legal technology tools on the market, having a strategy in place will help you decide on which tools you should leverage – and which you are better off taking a pass on.
2- Understand your clients’ needs 

“It’s simple, really: if clients aren’t satisfied, they’ll find a different lawyer”

Putting clients needs first is considered the cornerstone of law practice innovation. So when you decide on an innovation strategy, it is highly recommended to have a complete understanding of what your clients are looking for.

If you’re working in a law firm, this can be done by paying close attention to the current legal market and evaluating what attracts clients to alternative legal services.

On the other hand, if you’re working in an in-house legal department, you can ask the leadership departments about the pain points and how they would like to improve things.

Communicate your innovation strategy to the entire team

Your innovation strategy is super brilliant, but it is still irrelevant unless the whole team is on the same page. It’s pivotal to provide all legal team members with the needed training on new technologies. Processes must be put in place to ensure employee morale doesn’t sag on the thought of having to work out how to use new tech on their own.

4- Develop measurable innovation metrics

As Peter Drucker said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Great innovation executives start by adopting (or developing) an innovation metric that is appropriate for the organization’s innovation objectives and set goals using that metric, to measure the effectiveness of the innovation culture they help build.
5- Be flexible enough, and open to adjust

Innovation requires agility. It is okay to modify your plans and think about new ways to get your objectives done. If metrics and final results show that a certain new process or legal technology tool is not working the way you expected, it’s ok to rethink your strategy. Setting expectations, and being honest when things don’t work out, is the only way for your firm and your in-house team to grow.

Level up your strategic work toward achieving innovation 

To level up your effort toward achieving innovation in your law firm or in-house legal department, we come up with two more checklists. The first is meant for top management. We called it  “Managers Checklist”, it is meant to drive your innovation strategy and takes into account the people, technology and the expected innovation impact. The second one is meant for your legal team “lawyers and paralegals” and you can name it Everyone Checklist, It is meant to empower and motivate your legal team to be more proactive and feel more  included in the innovation process. 

  • Managers Checklist 

1- Strategy 

  • Define and adopt an innovation process to launch your innovations as quickly as possible
  • Ensure you build a top-down and a bottom-up innovation culture
  • Include in your activities at least these five activities: Research, Business Assessment, Development, Testing, Validation and Verification.
  • Define the right metrics that support your innovation strategy.

2- People

  • Provide technology for your team to leverage collaboration and to comply with your innovation strategy
  • Configure the legal practice technologies you use to fit your workflows and give you the metrics you need to track
  • Ensure using time and visual data tools to track your innovation pipeline. Try App4Legal, it’s an amazing all-in-one legal management tool.
  • Bring your team together in regular meetings, monthly or quarterly, to conduct some brainstorming sessions.

3- Impact

  • Develop a reward system to recognize and reward top contributors
  • Identify required innovation capabilities for the future
  • Analyze and refine your metrics on an ongoing basis
  • Everyday Innovation Checklist

Your team with their knowledge and experience can make a positive impact on your organization, so we recommend making the upcoming checklist an activity for all your team members. It is a simple and fun exercise that will help you get a better understanding of the top challenges and make your team feel more involved. The checklist includes the following:

  • Share your ideas
  • Comment on others idea
  • Follow the most interesting ideas
  • Start digital brainstorming session on your burning issue 
  • Join discussion where you can give a contribution 
  • Propose challenges related to your scope of work 


Innovation on top of App4Legal: the ultimate legal practice management solution for law firms and in-house teams

The speed of change is accelerating as new technologies serve to raise transparency, reduce prices and increase the value of services across the sector. For legal practitioners, maintaining the status quo and continuing to operate in the same way it has for the past ten years may sound like the most straightforward and risk-free strategy. 

App4Legal is a comprehensive Legal Practice Management Solution addressing the entire market of legal practitioners, in law firms and in-house legal departments. App4Legal supports multiple languages & multiple currencies. It is available on-cloud, Private SaaS & on-server (on-premises). App4Legal is one solution that replaces all tools used by legal professionals; it is modular, easy to use, and addresses the entire market, with clients in 67+ countries of all sizes.

App4Legal Key Features

Matter Management 

A centralized and accessible database to organize and manage legal matters including all related legal data and documents.

Time Tracking

Be more productive; create project scope, record work hours and keep everything on track with the insightful data.

Corporate Management

Make your corporate more collaborative, accessible and efficient with the leading practice management software


Drive performance and get insightful reports. Analyze workflow performance and share the time tracking data.

Document Management System​

Keep all documents in one platform where you can find and share documents quickly and identify who last edited them.

Financial Management​

Track all money transactions in a built-in billing module with full accounting features that maximize efficiency and revenues.

Interested to know more! Book a free Legal Tech consultation with one of our experts and find out how we can make the difference.