The role of leader has changed dramatically in the last 10 years in a world where innovation has become so much more important, says Carlos Moedas.

It’s something you see in the legal sector and all other knowledge-based industries. Even in companies, like the tech giants, which have always been innovative, a new kind of leader is emerging to replace the now outdated model of the visionary leader.

“ The leader of a law firm used to be the
best lawyer. Today the 
leader brings
something very 
different to the crowd and to
the way you create solutions for clients.”

It’s what Linda Hill from Harvard Business School calls “creative abrasion” – leading by letting the people around you create. “They let people co-create the future with them, giving them freedom but, at the same time, they have to harness them through discipline.” That discipline comes through developing the right culture.

Technology will change the way law firms work in fundamental ways, releasing lawyers from routine technical work to invent “out of the box” solutions. “It is the person that you call when you think you are stuck and he or she finds a way ahead.”

But law schools need to prepare students for work in this new world, rather than teaching them how things were done thirty or forty years ago. That is not happening yet.  

An interview with Carlos Moedas,
Former European Commissioner for Research, Science & Innovation