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Game Changers: Jodie Willey, Shine Lawyers

Game Changers is a short series of conversations with innovators in Queensland legal practice. It is an initiative of the Queensland Law Society Innovation Committee.

Jodie Willey is Chief Operating Officer of Shine Lawyers, having worked in leadership and legal roles across the business since joining in 1995.

Tell me about your practice or innovation and how it operates?

The idea was to take the Domino’s pizza tracker concept and apply it to a legal matter.

We developed Case Tracker, a client mobile app that allows clients to see what stage their claim is up to, what’s coming next, view information about upcoming medical appointments (including directions on how to get there), as well as upload documents, contact our team and provide feedback. The app is integrated with our case management system. We launched the app around Christmas last year in our Queensland personal injury practices.

Was there a particular problem you were trying to solve?

We wanted to provide an easy means of access, transparency and communication for clients around how their matter is progressing and also drive a culture of accountability in our team. We believe that if we can be more transparent and accountable with our clients, then we can resolve claims faster.

What is the most innovative aspect? How different is it from the traditional legal service model?

Providing clients with real time access to information about the progress of their matter is the most innovative aspect.

The traditional legal service model is less open in terms of communication. We wanted to provide transparency, and if this involves exposing our data to clients then we welcome it. The app breaks the stages of a claim into seven pieces, represented in a pie graph. In some parts the data is qualified to ensure we get the balance between accountability and context right.

How did you go about implementing your ideas? What was the most important step in making it happen?

The most important step was client validation. We involved clients in the design and testing of the app because we wanted to ensure we were building something that clients wanted and needed. Its important to validate assumptions about what clients want before you invest too much in a project.


Jodie Willey

What advice would you give to others about implementing innovation in their business?

Having the right people in the project team is critical – you need a good mix of legal and technical people to ensure the solution is what it needs to be. It’s also vital to define your MVP [minimum viable product] and scope upfront. I recommend starting small!

How did you judge success and what business impact have you had?

Daily we measure client uptake, app interaction and interview conversion, which so far looks promising.

Some of the feedback we received was truly mind-blowing, for example one former client who reviewed the app said that if they’d had access to it during their claim, they’d have been able to sleep at night.

There are of course clients who aren’t interested in using the app, which was expected.

What did you learn from your experience?

It’s critical to get the right tech advice at the outset. On the Case Tracker project, we had challenges with integration and ensuring robust security. Integrating our case management system into the app was complex for a number of reasons. Security was particularly important for obvious reasons. We got there in the end, but it did take longer than we anticipated.

As a legal innovator, what are some of the biggest challenges you see for the legal profession in developing innovative new ways to provide legal services?

It can be challenging to get the level of investment in innovation right. Its important to look at quick wins and small-scale projects as well as bigger ones that requires investment. There’s a lot of talk about AI and automation in the legal industry, and Claimify was our first foray in this space. Learnings from that initiative encouraged us to keep moving forward with this latest innovation.

So, what’s next?

In time, we will extend the mobile app to other states and practice areas across the Shine network. We are otherwise focused on an important digital marketing initiative, transforming how we attract and convert clients and manage their experience with us.

Jemima Harris is an experienced lawyer, Acting General Counsel at Megaport (an ASX-listed global tech company) and a founder of Invia Legal Operations. She is recognised as an expert in legal operations, strategy, transformation and continuous improvement. She is a member of the QLS Innovation Committee.

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