On October 17th, Carl W. Herstein, a Partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn and its Chief Value Partner, led the firm’s periodic value initiative meeting at Michigan State University Law School. Mr. Herstein opened the meeting by discussing the changing environment of law firms and corporate legal departments. Mr. Herstein also discussed his firm-wide efforts to deliver greater value to its clients through means such as Project Management, process improvement, and the implementation of technology.

This meeting will also include presentations by MSU Law students and LegalRnD Director Dan Linna and Innovation Counsel Jordan Galvin about how they are using the same disciplines to improve legal-service delivery and create value for clients through a “people, process, technology” approach.

(The Innovation Index will open deep discussions between firms and clients to improve legal-service delivery)

Dan Linna presented alongside Anita western, Sean Acosta, and Jameson Joyce on an index of legal-service delivery innovation, which they created to identify legal innovation and technology adoption in 260 of the world’s largest law firms. To determine the level of innovation in the legal industry, the team first created a catalog of 205 innovations implemented in law firms. Second, the team identified ten categories of legal-service delivery innovation and ran advanced Google searches across law firms’ websites to identify evidence of legal-services innovation and technology adoption.

(Using LegalRnD disciplines in the 54A district court we can save citizens’ homes)

Jordan Galvin, Nick Gamber, and Drew Sanders spoke about the core LegalRnD disciplines and how they’re being applied to an Eviction Diversion Pilot Program at the 54A district court. In the implementation and assessment of that pilot program, they are using discliplines such as process improvement, design thinking, and data analysis to create a more user-centric approach to legal service delivery. A core principle is to do test potential solutions and get feedback from users while gathering data about outcomes, not just efforts, to assess the program’s effectiveness.

(Using skills learned in Quantitative Analysis class we can better deliver legal services)

Dierdre McKinney presented on her project with Michigan Legal Help. Michigan Legal Help is a free legal information website that provides resources to pro se litigants. Using empirical research skills from Quantitative Analysis with Professor Linna, Dierdre is assessing information from users to determine which legal issues litigants need additional help with. This data will help provide Michigan Legal Help a better understanding of what additional resources they should make available on their website.

(“Blockchain, more than any other technology, will drive the next wave of legal innovation and transform the business of law”-Bob Craig, CIO at Baker Hostetler)

Danielle Chirdon and Jay Evans spoke on how emerging technologies like blockchain are revolutionizing the way clients conduct business. Clients are asking for and need trusted advisors who not only understand these technologies but also understand the laws that govern them.

We would like to provide a special thank you to Sarah McCormick, a 2017 LegalRnD MSU Law grad, who recently joined Honigman as a project manager and helped coordinate this event and helped make it possible. We would also like to thank again Carl Herstein, who also spoke at MSU Law last year. We appreciate his support of the program. He repeated this during the program, emphasizing the need for law schools to have programs like LegalRnD. He stated that programs like LegalRnD train not only nontraditional lawyers for positions like a legal project manager and legal solutions architect, but also trains traditional lawyers, who need to understand how to leverage project management, process improvement, metrics, data analytics, and technology to deliver better solutions for their clients.

As Mr. Herstein and Professor Linna pointed out, during their introductory comments, clients now expect their lawyers to be able to answer the question: “How are you using innovation and technology to improve not only efficiency but also substantive outcomes.” We would also like to thank the [10] Honigman lawyers and other professionals who attended this event in person. Finally, we would like to thank the Honigman lawyers and professionals who watched the event live from Honigman’s offices in Detroit, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids.