Skip to Content (custom)


Change Management: Leading Successful Initiatives in Your Organization

  • Legal Operations
  • 2 Mins

Legalweek NY 2024 Session Recap

Once upon a time there was this great, transformational idea, but this great idea never saw the light of day because seventy percent of all transformation projects fail.  At least that is the cautionary tale in the often-cited Forbes statistic, which has remained unchanged for years.  

Change management is not a new topic. Nearly 40 years ago, the ever-popular McKinsey 7-S framework was developed, providing a simple methodology.  At Legalweek 2024, Kayleigh Bedolla, Senior Consultant, Legal Operations Intelligence and Advisory at Epiq moderated “Change Management: Leading Successful Initiatives in Your Organization”, a session with thought leaders that included: 

  • An Trotter, Senior Director of Operations, Hearst Office of General Counsel

  • Jason Chancellor, Chief Information Officer, BAL

  • Kate Orr, Global Head of Practice Innovation, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

  • Jardanian Josephs, Global Director of Legal Operations, Reed Smith 

What follows is a recap of the topics discussed, as well as helpful guidance for those looking to lead successful change management initiatives in their organizations. 

Ongoing Improvement and Data-Driven Decision Making

During the session, the expert panelists stressed the importance of defining KPIs at the beginning of the project and measuring success well past the “end” of the project or initiative. Jason Chancellor advised, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”  

Ongoing improvement is more than using a buzzword or buzz phrase, it requires creating an operational plan to incorporate stakeholder feedback and monitor and measure success with merciless commitment.  An Trotter had another perspective on ongoing improvement, “There’s no such thing as failure; there’s only running out of time. Take the feedback and keep trying until it works.”  

Stakeholder Involvement in Change Initiatives

Successful change management includes enthusiastic engagement and commitment starting on day one, at all levels of leadership. Involving stakeholders in decision-making increases their sense of ownership and commitment to the transformation effort. Kate Orr reflected on her experiences, “Top-down support is critical, and so is the composition of the change management initiative team. You need everyone – the technologists, and the voices and perspectives of the end users from the point you’re designing the change all the way through to implementing the change.” 

An Trotter commented, “Trust is so important. You have to establish a track record so people can trust you. You have to be careful not to come in too hot. You need to push hard so people can go past their comfort zone, but not so fast that they’re not comfortable, and you don’t get any change at all. It requires constant calibrating.”
And Jason Chancellor reminded us to “Make sure people understand the value of the initiative. If a stakeholder can’t play back the reason why we’re doing something, it’s failed.”

Why Change Management Matters

Organizations and individuals alike often dismiss change management as a “soft” science, and yet, failure to properly leverage its principles costs organizations billions and teaches painful lessons.  As Jardanian Josephs said in our session, “Fortune favors the brave for those that have courage.”

Arguably, the potential for resistance to change only grows as our society becomes more polarized around the hot topics of the day, such as the adoption of AI.  Effective lawyers embrace being enabled by technology. It’s not that lawyers will be replaced by AI; lawyers who do not embrace technology will be replaced by those who do.

Regardless of the challenge at hand, the panelists stressed the importance of the following operating principles for successful business process transformation initiatives:

  1. Communications are consistent and thoughtfully consider the human element of change. 
  2. Make a meaningful commitment to ongoing improvement and data-driven decision-making.
  3. Outspoken stakeholder engagement is sought out at all levels – not just decision-makers. 

The views expressed by the quoted individuals in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of their companies. 

The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions.

Subscribe to Future Blog Posts

Learn more about Epiq's Service offerings
Our Services