The LWOW Experience
What is LWOW
LawWithoutWalls (LWOW) is a team-based part virtual executive education program for practicing and aspiring lawyers designed to do three things:
Create innovations at the intersections of law/business/tech;
Hone 21st century professional service skills desired by clients (including innovation, cultural competency, creative problem finding and solving, leadership, business planning, communication, and collaboration); and
Transform relationships between lawyers and clients.
Vision for LWOW
To develop cross-competent business leaders with excellent creative, collaborative problem finding and solving skills who delight clients by approaching service with the mindset, skillset, and behaviors of innovators.
How it works: The 3-4-5 Method of Innovation for Lawyers
LWOW is a team-based experiential method of learning and occurs in three phases over four months with a 5 Step process. Each team is sponsored by a law department, a law firm/company, or other professional service provider. The sponsoring entity assigns the team a problem it (or its client) is experiencing and wants solved. After narrowing down the challenge to a manageable-sized problem, the team’s charge is to create a solution to the problem (along with a prototype, business case, and commercial) and then present that solution to the LWOW community. Teams accomplish this by following the 5-Steps to a Project of Worth.
Team Makeup: The team is made up of approximately 7-10 people.
3 Hackers/Doers: 3 law and/or business school students that are assigned to the team (Note: sponsors can have input on school/location).
3-4 Team Leaders/Topic Experts: These participants selected by the Team Sponsor. They can come from within the sponsoring entity or within a client’s department or a combination of the two.
2-3 Mentors (volunteers with diverse expertise selected by LWOW)
1 Alumni Advisor (volunteer with experience in LWOW selected by LWOW)
Team Support: The team is supported by a group of external coaches who help the teams to refine their solutions, identify branding, develop their business case, deal with teaming issues, and bring their Projects of Worth to life.
Sponsors: 2019 LWOW team sponsors were a combination of:
Law Firms (White & Case, Eversheds Sutherland, Pinsent Masons, Cozen O’Connor);
Corporate Legal Departments (HSBC, Microsoft, Spotify, LATAM, Asset Services);
Consulting Firms (Accenture and Leah Cooper Consulting); and
Law Companies/ALSPs (LegalZoom, Elevate Services, iManage).
Timing: 3 phases over 4 months utilizing 5 Steps
Phase 1: The LWOW 2019 cycle began at the LWOW O KickOff on 19–20 January at IE University (Segovia, Spain) where all participants come together (in-person) for two days filled with teaming, idea generation, and problem finding and solving exercises, along with participating in a mini-hackathon.
Phase 1 (the KickOff) is the most essential ingredient to team success. It creates the culture and sets the protocols and expectations and, even more importantly, creates commitment and accountability.
The KickOff is designed to meet three goals:
build an esprit de corps within and across teams;
knit together engaged and committed teams of individuals; and
prepare and get buy-in and commitment from participants for the personal and professional work ahead.
Phase 2: After the KickOff, teams work virtually for the next few months, participating in virtual team meetings with their external coaches, shadow teams, and, importantly, with the LWOW leadership team as they progress through the 5 Steps. Through these meetings, teams receive feedback to improve the viability, financial structure, and overall positioning and creativity of the project. This is part of the prototyping, testing, reassessing, and improving process. The LWOW community also meets periodically to attend interactive virtual webinars that provide substantive training to help teams reach their goals (topics include consumer storytelling, prototyping, branding and business planning, and more).
Phase 2 is when the hard work gets done and lots of battles are not won. It is when the teams have to actually adopt the Three Rules of Engagement to get through the 5 Steps to a Project of Worth. It is also when the teams have to live up to the intentions and protocols that they set at KickOff. And, at times, it is when teams face personal/professional/cultural divides. At this point, teams meet with the teaming coach.
The virtual part of Phase 2 is likely the most important life skill learned in the LWOW 16 week cycle. This is because the future of working is on global teams (if it isn’t here already) and virtual teaming is so hard. It is hard enough to get the time zones right, let alone the technology, not to mention the even harder hurdle of cultural differences and preferences as they relate to virtual interaction (and interaction in general). In LWOW, we learn the right ways to team virtually.
Phase 3: The teams then reconvene in-person to deliver their Projects of Worth (dynamic pitch, prototype, business case, commercial, tagline, and more) at the ConPosium on 14–15 April 2019 at the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL). The teams present in front of an audience of 200 people and a panel of judges that always include a VC).
First and foremost, the ConPosium is a community celebration to reunite the community as one, despite the fact that, in some ways, the process has been a competition. We create the celebratory atmosphere in various ways: We include the audience with a live stream, a live private Skype chat, live public twitter, and the ability to vote on the teams, backed by tons of music. In this way, it is a bit like American Idol meets Dragon’s Den…it feels like anything but a traditional conference or symposium. The ConPosium is called that because it is not a conference or a symposium. Instead, like the KickOff, it is a transport to an alter-world. It is big and bold and “all that.” We celebrate our successes and our failures and we reunite in person after all the hard, virtual work we have done together.
The ConPosium is not only about celebration. It is also a form of reflection (of monitoring and testing). Although it feels like the end, it is not. As part of the 5 Steps to a Project of Worth, the ConPosium is a time for feedback, for testing our prototypes, and for analyzing our business cases. The ConPosium is an opportunity to present the problem, solution, and prototype in front of 200 people and receive critique from learned experts and from each other via the live Skype chat. At an LWOW ConPosium, the judging panel is usually comprised of a venture capitalist, a lawyer, a business professional, and an academic.
Why LWOW and the 3-4-5 Method of Innovation Work
The 3-4-5 Method of Innovation for Lawyers is an innovation process grounded in design thinking principles constructed especially for lawyers based on the lawyers’ temperament, training, work preferences and innovation needs. It emphasizes the how and who. As explained above, It details specific instructions and exercises for each step, along role identification, time commitment, and, importantly a timeline: the series of meetings that must occur among the team and with external advisers along the innovation journey. It also focuses on service innovation. Over the course of the LWOW journey, team members develop new skills, new mindsets and new behaviors—not to mention an innovation at the intersection of law, technology, and business.