Jan Roggen is the founder of Adhemar.law, a Belgian environmental and real estate boutique law firm. This is the last episode of the season.
In 2012, Jan Roggen founded Adhemar.law, a Belgian environmental and real estate boutique law firm, recognized by clients, peers and legal 500. In 2015, he started exploring new service, delivery models. While doing so, he learned that he did not have the required business skills to effectively drive and lead innovation in the firm. So he took the leap and moved to Canada with his family to study innovation management at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario while managing the firm remotely. During his stay in Canada, he saw the Raptors win the NBA Championship and obtained additional certifications in Legal Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, Design Sprint Facilitation, and Wilderness and Remote First Aid.
It's been a special experience trying to guide a law firm through a change process remotely. We have a young law firm that's very open to change. But even when everyone's open to change, change management is very challenging and if you want to do it remotely, it's even more challenging.
In the episode today, we discuss:
- The truth about change management; it’s hard even when people are open and accepting of it
- Challenges around running a law firm remotely
- How Jan’s firm created a “bottom-up” culture and instilled an environment where everyone is open to learning from each other. The most experienced lawyer learns something from the trainee and vice versa.
- Learning through experiments and having buy-in to get people to own what they do
- How knowledge management is making money for the firm, and provide a strong return on their investment to tools from companies like Litera
The main thing, which is very difficult in the legal profession, is to put your ego at the door and leave it at the door before you go in. Once you're able to do that, everything's possible. The thing for me that made it possible is that I was away - I had to stop micromanaging my own firm.
We're trying to use everybody's talents and knowledge. Instead of making some kind of a complete lawyer of everyone we tried to divide the work. We have some lawyers who are very good, very empathetic - they love being social, the extroverts. So we put them and the client-facing position.
Whereas there are other people who are really good at thinking, contemplating, and doing deep legal work - writing complex advice. So we put these two people together and let them handle one person to handle most of the clients and the other one most of the file.
Whereas in a traditional firm, you would have one person doing everything and then that one person would either not be very social, or not have a very good relationship with the clients.
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What is Fringe Legal?
Fringe Legal is a podcast discussing the future of the legal profession. Aimed at law firm leaders and influencers, each episode is a thoughtful discussion with a diverse range of voices about ideas impacting the evolution of the legal profession.
Along the way, we’ll learn about challenges to be overcome, what’s worked in the past, and expert tips on what could make a difference in the future.