Peaks and Troughs: A Forecast for the Car Industry in 2023February 25, 2023
Should claimants be able to bring an action against a defendant domiciled in a foreign country?February 27, 2023
Article written by Laetitia Ponde Nkot
Dan Kayne, former chief executive of Network Rail, founded O Shaped Lawyer when he understood that the legal profession was too directed on technical legal skills at the expense of human. There was a gap between the technical legal skills learned in college and training and the more human-centric skills that were needed to do the job well.
With the O Shaped leading group, composed of general counsels (GCs) passionate about improving the legal industry and those who exercise the law, Dan Kayne builds up ‘The 5 O’s Framework’. The 5’O’s define the five elements of the O Shaped state of mind: a mindset for change.
The Five O’s Framework
HAVE AN OPEN MIND
Adopt a growth mindset that the lawyer will always be open to new ideas and bring down defensive attitudes
Assume responsibility for results beyond pure technical legal advice
Adopt an optimistic state of mind in order to be considered as business partners and not business blockers
MAKE AND TAKE OPPORTUNITIES
Encourage lawyers to make and take opportunities outside the traditional lens of risk avoidance
Be creative and innovative in lawyers’ approach to problem-solving. Look forward, not backward
After the 5 O’s framework came the 12 O’s shaped attributes. The 12 O’s shaped attributes mean the skills of an O-shaped lawyer. They turn around three pillars: building relationships, creating value, and being adaptable.
The O Shaped Lawyer Attributes
Courage: The ability to act in the face of fear or uncertainty
Resilience: The ability to recover quickly after a disappointment or issue
Feedback: The skill to search for information for improvement
Continuous Learning: The skill to apply new know-how, techniques, and practical information
Empathy: The skill to understand the points of view and agendas of others
Influential: The ability to change the actions or mentalities of others
Communication: The skill to deliver the right message to a given audience
Collaborate: The skill to work effectively with people both in the short and long term
Identify: The skill to see the business opportunities in spite of legal challenges
Resolve: The ability to find the optimum legal solution to a given business opportunity or threat
Synthesise: The skill to shape sound judgments, combine information, and determine the importance
Simplify: The skill to oversimplify the most critical elements in an accessible form.
The O Shaped Lawyer Programme
Founded in 2019, the programme endeavours to reorganise the institution. It was undertaken in partnership with several industry stakeholders, from in-house teams and private practice law firms to universities and consultants. There are two separate work streams. The education stream, where O Shaped works with universities and law schools to aid construct the future of legal education. The practice stream works with in-house teams and law firms to appreciate the needs of the profession and to exhibit how important O-shaped attributes are in the real word relationships.
The programme’s motto is: ‘people first; then lawyers’.
Top 20 Law firms and FTSE 250 clients who have participated in the O Shaped Lawyer pilot programme, amongst them Dentons, Addleshaw Goddard, DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, Bank Monzo, DHL, and Easy Jet, described what the programme involved and how it strengthened their teams. Examples of evaluations included: more regular post-negotiation reviews and feedback sessions; encouragement of joint meetings and joint training sessions, both technical and commercial; more social events and peer mentoring programmes. The outcomes of the pilot scheme showed that, with the right atmosphere and an investment of time, in-house and private practices can work much more closely and enhance their value proposition to their shared customer.
In May 2022, the firm Browne Jacobson was the first to enter the action. The company incorporated the mission of O Shaped into its own culture and promoted O’ Shaped events. The firm will send its future trainees to The College of Legal Practice (COLP). The College will dispense preparation courses along transactional and business skills modules, one of which concentrating on being O Shaped. The movement concluded a second partnership with Dentons this month.
O Shaped partners with law schools
O Shaped has also been associated with 4 law schools: The University of Law, The College of Legal Practice (COLP), Barbri, and recently with BPP.
Barbri Global has allied with O Shaped Lawyers to help shape its material, beyond SQE1 and SQE2, and advance the ‘voice of the client’ to BARBRI’s ‘Prep for Practice’ programme.
BPP has implanted O Shaped attributes in a diversity of their new solicitor training courses for the SQE. Aside from BPP’s Essentials for Practice module, students will study a range of material brought in the O Shaped five O’s and 12 attributes, and their use in real world legal practice. BPP believes that following the O Shaped will provide aspiring lawyers with the opportunity to start their legal careers with the proper skills and mindset.
The College of Legal Practice has initiated a formal O-Shaped Lawyer course prepared to specially foster essential human and business O Shaped skills for future legal professionals. In a study ran with 14 junior legal professionals, 93% commended the O Shaped skills module to others. All perceived how to acquire an O Shaped mindset and O-Shaped skills and attributes could assist them in their own career.
The O Shaped Lawyer Programme is a hybrid industry movement aimed at causing positive advancements in the industry and remodelling the profession, not only for those who work in it and who will be in the future but also for those who buy services.
The legal profession needs lawyers who are talented in law, and who can manifest people and business skills to satisfy the needs of clients.
‘To understand client-centricity, innovate and create value for clients and customers, lawyers need to be well-rounded – or O Shaped.’