Q&A: Maya Markovich, Chief Growth Officer, Nextlaw Labs

BY

Shay Namdarian

The way that legal services are delivered is fast changing due to advances in technology and business model innovation. This is resulting in a gradual shift towards affordable, standardised services and efficiencies in how law firms deliver services. We interviewed thought leaders on the changing legal industry, emerging technologies impacting the sector, factors holding law firms back and what the future lawyer looks like.

Here is our interview with the Chief of Growth at Nextlaw Labs, Maya Markovich.

WHAT IS CURRENTLY HOLDING LAW FIRMS BACK FROM INNOVATING?

Change is daunting because humans often perceive, consciously or otherwise, that it represents an inherent loss of some kind. At a minimum, it requires significant alteration to one’s daily routine, to which some may fear they won’t be able to adapt. Change can also represent an existential threat to identity, legitimacy, or locus of control, and provoke emotional defensive reactions.

The tradition-rich legal industry is even more susceptible to these dynamics because it’s designed to stand on precedence, it’s not user or client-centric - it’s built for lawyers to run as a business. Lawyers also tend to view their work product as bespoke, impossible to replicate or automate, and charge accordingly -- usually by the hour, leading to a productivity paradox that disincentivizes efficiency. Established legal professionals have a strong psychological and economic stake in maintaining the status quo - they’ve invested years of their lives into these personal and professional structures. As hard as it is for one person to overcome the fear of change, we’re dealing with an entire industry going through the process simultaneously, with varying levels of acceptance, grief, and motivation to adapt.


WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LAWYER LOOK LIKE?

To thrive in the legal industry of the future - and present - lawyers need some foundational literacies like a basic understanding of data science, money management, design thinking, and project management. They also need to develop competency in creativity, flexibility, collaboration, and emotional intelligence. And in order to truly effect change, lawyers with character qualities of resilience, creativity, curiosity, comfort with ambiguity, and a bias to action will have the most impact.


Future lawyers need an understanding of how people think and what motivates them, the ability to bring diverse stakeholders together, and the skillset to deliver more strategic, creative services to clients who will no longer pay for the turn-the-crank work. Lawyers who understand that legal expertise is only one facet of the services they provide and that they are no longer the only game in town are more likely to grasp the necessity of finding new business processes and ways to deliver value to clients in a rapidly shifting marketplace. There’s a wealth of opportunity (not to mention urgency) to collaborate, scale, productize, and more - once you see the state of the industry clearly.


To find out what 14 other thought leaders had to say on the future of legal services, download the full 21st Century Lawyer report at www.newlawacademy.com/report

about the author

Shay Namdarian is GM of Customer Strategy at Collective Campus and the author of Stop Talking, Start Making - A Guide to Design Thinking. Shay has over ten years of experience working across a wide range of projects focusing on customer experience and design thinking. He is a regular speaker and facilitator on design thinking and has gained his experience across several consulting firms including Ernst & Young, Capgemini and Accenture. Shay has supported global organisations to embed customer-centric culture, working closely with law firms such as Clifford Chance, Pinsent Masons and ClaytonUtz

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