More than 80 percent of lawyers define a “multidisciplinary” practice team as one comprised of attorneys drawn from varying firms, practice areas and experience levels.
The caveat: only lawyers allowed.
Fewer than 20 percent of lawyers take a more inclusive approach, defining a “multidisciplinary” team as one that includes not just licensed attorneys but also paraprofessionals, administrative staff, outside experts, specialized vendors, or others.
Those insights come from this article in Bloomberg Law.
“A lawyer-centric mindset is inimical to the seamless, multidisciplinary, cross-functional collaboration required to satisfy the needs of digitally mature legal buyers,” writes legal consultant Mark Cohen for Forbes. “That requires teamwork. The legal function must deliver more than lawyers and legal work. It must expand its ranks to business, technology, data, and other specialists, working seamlessly to advance customer objectives. It must function as a team.”
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10 Ways to Practice as a Team
Following are ten takeaways from the article “Practicing Law as a Team Sport in a Digital Age” by Mark Cohen, published on the Forbes website.
- Adopt a client-centered philosophy. Consider your performance from the client’s perspective, not your own.
- Be a problem-solver, not a reactor. “Lawyers must team with allied professionals involved with corporate risk management—data analysts, engineers, technologists, process and design experts,” writes Cohen. “Teamwork between the two is essential. Lawyers and other legal service providers should ask themselves: Why are they here? What do they do? What should they do to better serve existing customers as well as those in need of their services?”
- Don’t worry about job titles. “The artificial distinctions lawyers draw between in-house, law firm, or other legal service providers are meaningless to end-users,” says Cohen. “Customers want accessible, fast, holistic, data-backed solutions that solve problems and convert opportunities.”
- Communicate with your teammates. “Legalese impedes lawyer impedes communication with the broader corporate team, and this is detrimental for customers. Lawyers should adapt their language to the lingua franca of business and society.”
- Form data sharing and technology teams. “Law must collaborate with a cognitively diverse team of technologists, engineers, data analysts, financial, risk management, change management, design, process, customer-experience, and other experts to meet the needs of its digital customers,” writes Cohen.
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which offers confidential, one-on-one consultations to sharpen your firm’s mission and design an excellent Law Life. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.