Start asking better questions, and include your clients in the process.
In order to design the right things, you need to ask the right questions from the right people. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And yet, the legal industry so often shies away from doing just this. Why? For most lawyers, the thought of inviting clients to ask them questions feels counterintuitive. Lawyers are used to playing the role of the “solution provider” or “answer-giver.” Doubts creep in: “What will my client think if I now ask them for their input?” The answer is: they will be grateful. Your clients will feel grateful, heard and more often than not, excited to co-create solutions that will actively assist their business and its operations. So often we have heard our in-house clients request that their law firms would pick up the phone and speak to them: ask them what their everyday challenges are; ask them what their key performance indicators (KPIs) are this year; ask them about their overarching goals and priorities so they can make better use of everyone’s time and money. Working with clients also fosters stronger relationships between all those involved, leading to enduring business relationships.
Including clients, stakeholders and end users from the outset and asking them questions is one of the most important steps toward achieving client-centricity. Without client and stakeholder input, innovation directions and decisions that you make will be based on assumptions as opposed to first hand evidence, which can lead you to develop solutions that are not really desired or useful. So, as you continue your journey toward practicing legal design, get comfortable reaching out to your clients, stakeholders and end users and involving them as you create new solutions.