Innovative management uses technology as differentiator

Thanks to Susan Letterman White of Letterman White Consulting, the interesting series of articles about innovative managing partners that Law360 has been running were brought to our attention, especially the article about K&L Gates’ Managing Partner Peter Kalis.

Riding the cutting edge in technology, diversity and alternative fee structures, K&L Gates has grown from a regional outfit to one of the world’s largest firms, thanks to the steady leadership and competitive streak of chairman and global managing partner Peter Kalis, earning him a spot on Law360’s list of Most Innovative Managing Partners. Some of the key factors behind the success have been the focus on innovation and technology.

“The legal marketplace is one of the most competitive markets in the world,” according to Peter Kalis. “There are not just dozens of worthy competitors, there are hundreds of worthy competitors … and if you are not innovative and energized, they will eat your lunch. Technology is a big differentiator. Much of the efficiency that law firms can achieve on behalf of clients involves what can be loosely referred to as knowledge management – organizing the firms’ experience so it can be efficiently accessed for our clients. While a lot of that experience and knowledge resides in the brains of the attorneys, technology can make it accessible from anywhere in the world – a necessity for K&L Gates’ globe-trotting attorneys and a key client service feature.”

The use of technology has also had a direct effect on the clients’ decisions to assign K&L Gates. “The firm’s dedication to staying at the cutting edge of technological innovation and diversity is critical for companies like DuPont, which are always searching to find resourceful and creative firms, and often face marketing challenges as thorny as their legal ones,” according to DuPont’s general counsel Thomas Sager.

The competitive edge of technology has also been discussed by Adam Hartung here on Legal Innovation Blog Using technology when competing: “All businesses compete every day. Those that learn to use new technologies are able to get more done, faster and more effectively. Those who fall into a routine of doing things the same way, and don’t advance their tool set, run the risk of being knocked out of the competition.”