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What is an innovative lawyer?

What is an innovative lawyer?

By Rose Inglis

Innovation Technology 


One of the most strategic ways a young lawyer can ensure a successful and enduring legal career is to establish themselves as an innovative lawyer.

But what defines an innovative lawyer? In this edition of the YLJ, law students, lawyers and industry leaders interrogate what it takes to be an innovative lawyer and provide insight as to how to plan and enjoy your own innovative career.

What characterises an innovative lawyer?

Brad Woolstencroft (pp2–3) argues that as technology transforms the way in which legal services are delivered, law students can learn and create their own opportunities. Having the right attitude is paramount when learning and adopting technology for commercial outcomes.

Zach Moon (pp8–9) argues legal innovation does not solely revolve around technology literacy. Legal innovation could be as simple as identifying a pain point that is frustrating your colleagues and redesigning the work process to make it more efficient and effective. Identifying a pain point in the family law process is what led family lawyer Max Paterson to co-found Settify, a legal tech start-up that provides clients with tailored information directly relevant to their matter. It is now in over 150 law firms globally.

Blake Connell (pp10–11) explains how the legal industry is rapidly becoming more accessible and multidisciplinary via embracing legal design. As the traditional role of the lawyer is being challenged by new ways of thinking and new technologies, it is essential that lawyers have evolving skillsets to draw upon. In these circumstances, transferrable skills gained through previous career steps are highly valuable (Jade Hopper p7 and Chavala Kobluk p6).

Deakin Law School student Michaela Kennedy (pp4–5) identifies and tackles a common problem that faces many law students – how to build a unique and marketable skillset while completing your legal studies. It led her to embrace many of the international exchange and internship opportunities her university offered. She has now completed five exchanges within four years, gaining global work experience while obtaining course credits.

What is the secret to being an innovative lawyer?

Innovation is about challenging the status quo with a mindset that embraces change, interrogates the root cause of a problem and then thinks creatively to solve that problem. It’s essential to have the right attitude – be curious, authentic, empathetic and have fun. If and when you incorporate these things into your legal practice, you will become an innovative lawyer and will be set up for an interesting and innovative legal career.  

Rose Inglis is Manager of LIV Young Lawyers. Please reach out if you are keen to get involved

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