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Fringe Legal #50: transformation and looming legal revolution 🌩️

Fringe Legal #50: transformation and looming legal revolution 🌩️

GIVEAWAY alert: I can't believe it has been 50 issues. Look out for an email in a couple of days that will include details of a special giveaway.

Big bite 🌮😋

Normally, I would include three snacks in the newsletter, but there are so many resources mentioned during the episode that I've included as mignardise (yup, I'm going all-in with the food references).

Peter Dombkins

In the most recent episode 🎧 of the Fringe Legal Podcast, I enjoyed having Peter Dombkins as my guest. Peter is a leader in legal transformation, legal operations, and the project management of legal professional services. Peter is Australia's first Adjunct Associate Professor in Legal Transformation at the University of NSW Faculty of Law and the Director for New Law at PwC Australia.

The notes below are from my discussion with Peter, and some of the items have been modified to fit written form.

We opened the episode looking at the profession through the lens that Kuhn suggested in the Structure of Scientific Revolution, noting that there isn't a quiet evolution of ideas but a sudden revolution.

Are we approaching the tipping point? Are the ideas getting bolder and gaining critical mass?


It's beneficial to understand what's come before, and Peter provides a brief history of changes to the professional legal services offering from 1950 to - present day.

One of the more recent trends is appending "legal" in front of many things. I know this draws plenty of reactions/discourse. My view on this is that doing so serves a purpose (beyond just marketing). We want things to be relatable; we want it to feel like they have been created or modified and understood for the industry's nuances. This is the sames reason there is MedTech, RegTech, FinTech and EdTech.

So Legal is coming late to the party on some of this, but at least it arrived very well dressed because we get to now pick and choose some of the best parts of project management, change management, transformation, and continuous improvement.


At its simplest, transformation is how you get an organization from where it currently is to where it wants to be.

At its simplest, transformation is how you get an organization from where it currently is to where it wants to be. But transformation comes in different forms and levels of complexity.

Simple transformation is where we're trying to optimize an existing system, and usually, it's a closed system. This could be something like automating a particular workflow. it's a discreet activity, which we could put our arms around and measure. We can measure how long it currently takes, the inputs, and the output that are required. That's what is meant by a closed system.

So complexity is highly subjective which is something that I think people forget when they are driving transformation because you'll end up with "I'm comfortable with it, why can't you be comfortable with it as well?"
I think that's an important lesson for people driving transformation to realize. It's not from where they're sitting, it's actually the end-user's experience, and it's their perspectives that are going to determine whether they are more or less resistant to change.

The other end is a complex transformational, radical change, revolutionary change, where we are going. We are going from one culture, organizational structure, objective strategy, and we're going to turn it into something that is completely different - with a new strategy, a new approach, a new mindset.

I could write another three emails covering the management of change initiatives, which at its simplest requires finding a balance between motivating people and managing stress. Check out Expectancy Theory and Yerkes-Dodson law listed below.

🎧 Listen to the full episode here

Mignardise 🍰

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