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Akerman Plans to Launch the First R&D Council for Law Firms

Last month, in a development that were missed by many, Akerman LLP announced that it plans to launch the first Research and Development Council for law firms - a requirement felt by all in the rapidly changing dynamics of the legal market and law firm workspaces.

The firm said that the convergence of technology and economics have led to new market demands and offered the legal industry new opportunities to reshape client-lawyer interaction. The proposed R&D Council for law firms will be focused on creating new offerings to redefine service delivery models and advance the business of law through innovation and growth.

Akerman is positioning its R&D Council for law firms in a manner similar to business start-up incubators. The Council will identify and cultivate promising ideas that will help the law firm deliver its services in ways that are more meaningful. In a step out of the ordinary, the Council will involve a select group of Akerman clients in the work alongside professionals hired by the law firm.

Speaking on the plans to float the Council, Akerman Chairman and CEO Andrew Smulian said, "Akerman lawyers are intensely focused on what lies around the corner for our clients … This effort will help us better anticipate and react to the rapid changes happening in the market while also serving as a catalyst for break-through thinking."

To further emphasize the importance of the new step for Akerman, Smulian asserted, "We envision a future where the legal industry leads some of the most exciting changes happening in the market …. At Akerman, we have built an environment that encourages new ideas so that our people remain at the frontline of innovation both for our clients and for tomorrow's lawyers."

According to the firm's announcement, Akerman's R&D Council will receive significant autonomy to ensure unfiltered development of offerings aligned with client needs. The Council will apply product development methodologies to seek out fresh ways of practicing law and of adding more value to the client experience.

While Akerman holds regular learning labs and innovation tournaments, forming a dedicated Council to research and identify micro trends and new business markets, and to test new product and process innovation by leveraging the latest technology and business intelligence, can become a big differentiator for its brand.

Significantly, Smulian said, "While the formation of Akerman's R&D Council may be pioneering today, we foresee a time in which research and development departments will be commonplace at law firms in order to adapt to an increasingly complex world."

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