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The flywheel effect: self-driving growth for your law firm

Imagine a world where your law firm isn’t just known for its expertise, but also celebrated for its ability to capitalize on it every day. Discover what leading law firms do to achieve this goal.

The Augmented Law Firm tansp

As a legal practitioner, you’re always in the front row witnessing exciting developments. Innovative companies closing a partnership, a startup securing funding, important events in people’s personal lives: you make sure that what is unofficial becomes official. It’s a rewarding job, but it doesn’t stand still, much like your clients and the evolving world around us.

The legal landscape is becoming more complex, with complicated contracts that capture the nuances of this ever-changing environment. Each contract contributes new data and insights to the internal knowledge base of your law firm. However, most firms have yet to fully unlock and leverage this collective knowledge. That is why leading law firms in the future will be those that focus on effectively tapping into this wealth of information. By making your expertise the core of your operations, you will continue to attract clients and top legal talent. In other words, the era of the augmented law firm has arrived.

Expertise as your strategic priority

When we say the world is changing for lawyers, several factors come into play. Clients are more demanding than ever. They look for value-added services that are rooted in deep expertise. However, expectations are shifting not only externally but also internally. Attracting and retaining talent is increasingly challenging, as legal professionals want to focus on meaningful work that brings satisfaction. Practices that were common for decades are being questioned. Talented lawyers no longer want to work as they did twenty years ago.

Law firms today face a paradox in their pursuit of efficiency while traditionally billing by the hour. This way, working faster does not seem to be in your best interest. The real goal, however, is to deliver proactive value to clients. This means working smarter, not just faster, by minimizing time spent on administrative tasks and focusing on high-quality, client-focused legal solutions. Data and technology are accelerating this transition to more innovative and efficient practices, a trend confirmed by insights from more than 7,000 law firms.

There’s a clear shift towards
innovation-led growth in law firms”

Enter the Flywheel

Leading law firms are unlocking their collective team knowledge and taking advantage of a new work culture. This sets an example for others to follow. They leverage flywheel dynamics to gain momentum, creating a self-reinforcing cycle in which today’s insights and achievements fuel tomorrow’s expertise. Here’s how these law firms effectively scale their legal excellence:

  1. Capitalize on Expertise & Undiscovered Trends to Create a Sharing Mindset

    Capitalizing on expertise involves recognizing and using the unique skills, knowledge, and experience within your legal team. Each team member brings their own strengths and expertise in specific legal areas, including soft skills such as negotiation and conflict resolution.

    Acknowledging and capitalizing on these unique skills helps you build a more dynamic and productive legal practice. It motivates team members to refine their skills and knowledge, uncovering hidden trends in the process.

    These hidden trends reveal themselves through analysis of a law firm’s extensive data. Think of data as the new gold – it’s all the knowledge a firm has built up over the years. By diving into this, firms can gain insight into emerging legal issues, regulatory changes and shifts in client needs. This positions your firm as a thought leader and proactive problem solver, moving beyond the role of a reactive service provider.

    The result is a sharing mindset
    within your team where each member is encouraged to share their knowledge and insights, leading to better collaboration and continuous learning.

    ALF step1
  2. Unlock Full Team Potential Leading to Deeper Expertise & Agility

    Market trends show that the best-performing legal teams are those where each member’s potential is fully utilized. This often involves identifying and improving competencies through targeted training. These teams not only function more effectively, but also gain a deeper understanding of specific legal areas, setting a higher standard for your practice.

    This makes your firm a top choice for clients seeking specialized legal guidance. After all, a team that combines deep expertise with adaptability can respond quickly to changes in the legal landscape, allowing you to meet new challenges with ease.

    A team that combines deep expertise with agility can respond quickly to changes”
    ALF step2
  3. Shift to Value-Added Work Leading to More Meaningful Work & Proactivity

    Rather than reacting to legal issues, your focus should shift to identifying areas where your legal expertise can proactively add value to clients. Moreover, when team members are involved in work that benefits clients with high impact, it leads to greater job satisfaction and a sense of purpose. As a result of this shift in determination, team morale and motivation get a boost as well.

    In larger firms, this strategic shift is especially relevant to the ramp time of juniors. Junior profiles usually know the legal theory but lack hands-on practical skills, such as contract drafting or negotiation. By giving them access to your team’s collective knowledge through technology, they can get ramped up faster. This allows juniors to contribute to more meaningful work quicker and more efficiently.

    Additionally, value-added work leads to a proactive mindset. Team members will spot potential legal issues or opportunities before clients even realize them. Addressing these matters proactively enhances service quality and strengthens client relationships.

    ALF step3
  4. Client Delight & Amazement Creating Newly Built Expertise & Insights

    Following the progress of the flywheel, providing service that amazes your clients becomes the natural outcome of your previous actions. This includes personalized attention, innovative solutions, and anticipating their needs.

    By actively listening to and learning from client feedback and experiences, your team gains new perspectives and insights. These valuable insights are then integrated into your legal practice, allowing you to serve clients even better. This ongoing feedback loop of learning and improvement leads to the development of new expertise and insights within your firm, starting the whole cycle anew.

    Incorporating these concepts into your legal services flywheel will likely result in a more dynamic, client-centric, and successful legal practice.

    ALF step4

Leading firms
enjoying the flywheel effect

Here are some examples of peers that have (partly) implemented the flywheel
and are gaining a competitive advantage because of it.


Technology can be a tool to achieve that mindset, but it goes beyond that. As a law firm, you have to transcend individualistic thinking. Take YPOG, for example. Instead of multiple partners each defending their own interests, they have appointed a CEO with no legal background to streamline their decision-making. This bold strategy is paying off, because YPOG was named 'Law Firm of the Year 2023' at the JUVE awards

While YPOG demonstrates the success of unified leadership and collaboration, in many traditional firms, valuable insights remain isolated in silos. Sharing these insights across the firm can drive better results and a culture of mutual learning and growth. Therefore, law firms should encourage idea-sharing, recognizing that collaboration leads to superior legal writing and solutions. This approach allows lawyers to benefit from the collective intelligence and experience of their colleagues.

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A sharing mindset allows you, as a law firm, to respond more quickly to change. Take Cambrian, for example, an Antwerp-based firm focusing on innovative clients. They find that in the current economic climate, contracts often resemble those of a decade ago when the economy was going through a similar period. People who had only been with the firm for five years did not know that those old contracts existed, but thanks to this sharing mindset, that has changed. This allows people to work much faster and more efficiently.

Arntzen De Besche

Top Norwegian firm Arntzen De Besche harnessed technology to tap into its rich legal archives, boosting contract drafting efficiency and quality. This shift has saved them about 80% of their time, which is now invested in better serving their clients and making a greater impact through innovative legal strategies.

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Schoenherr, a Central Eastern European law firm with a presence across 15 countries in Europe, emphasizes collaboration and knowledge sharing as core values. Their firm's knowledge is considered to be their "crown jewel”, and they use technology to preserve, use, and share this knowledge effectively – while helping the firm become more strategic and to outpace its competitors. This advantage allows them to share insights and best practices across their offices and mandates, making their team more efficient and increasing the quality of their legal products. It allows them to increase the level of human interaction they offer to their clients, and lets them spend more time exploring new types of legal advice that wasn’t there before, increasing everyone’s expertise and making clients happier.

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