Two bells have to ring for significant change to happen between a law department and one of its firms

Change comes so hard between a law department and a law firm because they have to be in reasonable synch. Their respective champions of change need to be in roughly the same psychological space.

Imagine two bell curves of willingness to embrace change, one for law departments and one for law firms. At the top of each curve we find willingness under the right circumstances to move forward with something new. Off to the left we find reluctance, a general sense that what we have going works pretty well and that the risks of upsetting the status quo just aren’t worth it. Off to the right of the bell curve, with fewer and fewer firms or departments – depending on which curve you look at – as you move right, are those that see promise in change and want to explore something different.

When you superimpose the bell curves and plot the specific department and specific firm on them, you need both sides in roughly similar positions of change acceptance for there to be a hope of, shall we say, a ringing endorsement.

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