Hogan Lovells engaged OPX to imagine and implement the law firm of the future, create and support a culture that attracts and retains the best talent, and foster a brand for the one of the most important law firms in the world. Hogan Lovells was responding to industry pressures, transforming law-firm business models, and uncertainty about what the future law firm would look like. And the project had to manage what was certainly going to be a changed workplace.
The first order of business was the development of an internal branded designation of the effort called “ReVision.” An internal team of champions became kindly referred to as “ReVisionists,” reflecting their goal of becoming the “Hogan of the future” and shepherding the process.
Typical engagements of this type lack firm-wide agreement about strategy and decision-making. We solve this through an electronically facilitated vision session that builds a decision-making guide tied to the strategy of the firm. While we typically conduct one Vision Session for a client, this engagement necessitated three sessions to ensure we were engaging with a thorough cross-section of the firm. We also wanted to give validity to Hogan’s belief that the firm was aligned in its strategy across hierarchies.
Forty-two of forty-three participants ranked “OneHogan” – a phrase that had profound consequences in the final decision-making –as the top strategic priority in the vision session. This was followed by multiple presentations describing how the process would unfold and how we would communicate it firm-wide.
At the end of every phase of the project, posters, emails, and infographics described the status of the project, the results of the sessions and the overall progress. This maintained momentum, giving Hogan people confidence that they had been heard, all helping managing the fear of change.
Using the Vision Session imperatives, the subsequent analysis included an Operational Survey (with an 81% participation rate),Cultural and Employee Engagement Assessment, twenty-four Focus Groups, two summer associates’ sessions, a Technology and Work Process Assessment, and a wide-ranging Scenario Planning exercise that tested the range of operating environments from the most conservative to the most innovative. Ultimately, most of Hogan’s people had participated and provided input multiple times, on a wide-ranging group of topics.
Involving people early on is critical to any change management. The truth is, most people know they won’t make the decisions, they just want to be heard. Law firms, and lawyers, are the same.
Hogan was an exception, recognizing and embracing this fact from the beginning. The more innovative scenarios made efficient use of space by using universal-sized offices. Universal-sized offices have many advantages, including the efficient and economical use of space and increased flexibility, among others. Universal-size offices also carry important cultural ramifications that is more in line with how younger generations perceive the workplace. Since we had data on what Hogan wanted from a strategic point of view, this was the directive.
The final scenarios were tested on six different buildings and evaluated based on our findings to determine whether or not Hogan should move to a new building. A key consideration was the idea that Hogan could save money and potentially create operational efficiency by locating all of their administrative functions in another less expensive location. However, the number one imperative from the Vision Session was to create a “One Hogan” culture. Housing administrative staff in another location would have gone against this priority. When considering this against their building options, it made the most sense to stay in their existing building.
Another important issue that arose was the tension between learning to use technology effectively and maximizing billable hours. To address this, OPX proposed a “Genius Bar” modeled after the Apple store mainstay. A Genius Bar is areal-time, technology help desk located on every floor of the office, focused on troubleshooting and training with the lawyers – reducing lost hours spent without working technology or waiting for IT to fix issues.
Through our Integrated Operating Environment process, we engaged Hogan Lovells in building strategic agreement across the firm. Our analysis uncovered critical operational, technological, and cultural knowledge that informed our innovative ideas about how Hogan could operate more like the law firm of the future. We were able to make a strategy-based, informed, future-focused, and cost-effective decision about their future workplace and operations.
Our analysis and conceptualization resulted in Hogan’s new workspace as forward-thinking, connected, collaborative, and transparent. Among many outdated law firm features, Hogan migrated from four different-sized offices to one-size offices, and the transformed environment they now have. At the time, our work redefined how a law firm could operate. The space was more effective and efficient, saving Hogan more than 100,000 square feet of space, equal to a savings of more than $90 million over the life of their lease. Most importantly, though, their workspace modeled their top priority of supporting a “One Hogan” culture.
Change is never easy. Which is why OPX supported Hogan in helping to build buy-in and consensus, and about how to manage and embrace meaningful and lasting change. The engagement was such a success, that OPX went on to repeat this process for Hogan’s New York, Los Angeles, and Denver offices.