There’s a school of thought that says the U.S. is lagging on innovation in the 21st century. The same has been said of law firms dating from at least the last century. Why innovation is difficult for law firms is a combination of factors, such as fear of risk and reliance on the billable hour. How firms get out of that rut is more complex.

Recent surveys suggest firms aren’t perceived as particularly innovative, and, while they are making progress in areas like technology and analytics, they could do more to leverage them. The COVID-19 pandemic also ushered in a wave of new work patterns while arguably making firms more experimental, but some industry observers still see more stasis than inspiration.