The importance of critical thinking and conversation

William Henderson — Professor at Indiana Maurer School of Law and Chief Strategy Officer at Lawyer Metrics –  knows legal market data and technology.  Bill recently presented at Wolters Kluwer’s ELM User Conference.  His topic:  Bridging the Gap between clients and legal service providers.  Despite his expertise slicing and dicing data, Bill didn’t focus on starting with more data sets.  Instead, he encouraged creative thinking and conversation.  I couldn’t agree more.

Data-based and technology-driven efficiency and spectacular results starts with bold strategy born of open and innovative communication.  In a forever-changed legal marketplace, clients and legal service providers need to agree on how to break the stale legal services mold, set new expectations, design the systems to meet them, and build in accountability.   That’s a strategy-driven approach, and one that emphasizes the importance of follow-through.  It’s why EvolveLaw incorporates design thinking into every planning process.

A fabulous recent TED talk by Susan Etlinger, an analyst with Altimeter Group who lives and breathes data and analytics, suggests that data without a critical eye isn’t useful at all.  She is right.   Data is critical.  But don’t let data drive your strategy.  Find the right strategy, and let it help you define the data sets and tech to move you forward.

In addition to encouraging conversation, Bill’s ELM talk suggested that legal service providers de-emphasize expertise as a differentiator, finding that unimpeachable expertise is table stakes.  Here, I disagree.  But I leave that discussion for my next post.