Take your law practice to the next level

Comprehensively build the skills to listen, accept and build on your clients or colleagues for a better work-life, workplace and prosperity.


AIM is driven by its competencies and these are learnt experientially on the spot. Similar to how fitness increases as you work out.

Develop better inter-personal work relationships with colleagues

AIM techniques enhance interpersonal relationships, growing a collaborative mindset that rivals the competitive one. This is done through activities like ‘Yes, and…’ and the ‘Mirror Exercise,’ where trust, empathy, and communication improve, and therefore, teamwork and problem-solving. As a result, the firm should experience increased productivity and cohesion.

Create a better collaborative work atmosphere

Manage your client load better

Become more adaptive and navigate the unexpected easier

Propel your culture over other firms

When someone feels more supported, cared about and listened to, they tend to not burnout, and stay with their employer. Even if they get less pay than a competing firm. In this environment, people contribute more of themselves, and the brains trust of the business expands. This gives them a competitive advantage over others who treat their staff within an ‘ordinary’ culture.


Gather more info from your client quicker, and build your case better

Through building deeper rapport, you can break through trust and other barriers quicker. Quickly gather and integrate mulitple viewpoints, observe behaviour more succinctly and pick up on cues quicker

Mediate and negotiate more effectively

Effective mediation relies on active listening. Without it, progress stalls. When parties feel heard, the mediator can guide them toward resolution.


Be a better public speaker


Depose witnesses more effectively

Think like your clients (strategic empathy)

brings entrepreneurial thinking when clients wants more than just legal advice, your work intersects with business, particularly if your clients are in the start-up space.

Overcome blocking from partners, clients etc.

Lawyers often excel in critical thinking, dissecting arguments and using logic to refute them. However, this can lead to formulating responses than truly listening to others, hindering genuine communication. With “yes, and…”, you can maintain engagement while still expressing one’s own ideas effectively.

Move at ease between different levels of status

Improv competency: adapt to others, make your partner look good, stand your point-of-view, connect with people at the status level they are or perceive they are.

A low-status person who believes that is their identification is going to relate better to you if you show you are able to understand what it is like to think as a low-status person. That creates a form of camaraderie, and useful for building a case. The same thing applies with high-status. This is different to ‘rank’.

Improv allows lawyers to:

  • recognise the ‘status gap’ between you and the client,
  • explore and move around freely between status levels,
  • adapt to and connect with others and
  • make stating a case more immediate and direct.

Many of your clients are unlikely to deviate from their environmentally-dictated place in society, but you can, and that is to your advantage over peers who are as stuck/trapped in their level of ‘deigned status’, just as your client is. This gives you freedom to know your own status, but free to visit other status levels.

Even so, how much is your status shaped by those you perform for, or impress? Improv gives you the permission to open up to more choice in how you do this, and make status a conscious decision.

Have fewer conflicts yourself

Improv competencies: make your partner look good; find your solution

Improv helps you ride conflict and resolve it.

As work culture changes for 2024 onwards, and people are resetting their focus on a changed work world, more problem solvers who are OK with change are needed more than ever.

Improv means each team member can see points of view from the other person’s, there is less detrimental position-holding on either side.

Conflicts can be closed easier, especially when the work environment is of supporting each other to find a solution within a “yes, and…” or “no” framework, when appropriate.

More active listening

For once, an active listening session that isn’t edious. The exercises that you do give you a chance to tune out of how you will react, and wait before the other person has finished, then respond.

Your effective information gathering rate will be much higher, than if you stick to what is happening in your mind.. And that means a better chance of building a full case, where all the senses are picked up.

Not jumping in helps substantially in court, however, more time is spent working with colleagues, so this helps improve inter-personal communication too. This helps , particularly with those in the office who take their stress out on others.


Be more in the present

AIM competancies: LAB (listen, accept, build)

Being present and attentive is crucial for effective client relations. When you’re fully engaged, you’re better able to understand and respond to what’s happening. This authenticity develops deeper and more fruitful relationships. Bing in the moment is vital for lawyers to connect with their clients or the courtrom and convey their message convincingly. Plus, it has a bonus in helping alleviate fears of public speaking.


and have a greater chance of ultimately winning cases and/or attracting and retaining more clients. Where your focus is, is up to you.

You don’t need 100% of the firm staff improv-ing. Just enough to direct the culture.


Law storytelling is where the courtroom becomes a stage and the trials become a play

In daily life, adapting and improvising when things don’t go as planned is part of our survival. We just often do it unconsciously.

Until recently, universities and workplaces overlooked training in these essential human skills, despite our VUCA world.

Even in high-pressure work environments with long work hours, dealing with unpredictable clients adds to the challenge. Without good resilience and balance, burnout rates of % are more likely.

Build excellent people skills, then you can navigate unexpected situations and steer towards favorable outcomes.

Course Description

In this course students will use techniques and exercises drawn from improvisational theater to develop and refine communication skills, apart from writing, that are essential to effective lawyering. The course will focus on several core skill sets, including listening nonjudgmentally and empathetically, being present and aware of status, communicating with confidence and authenticity, adapting to changing information and circumstances, and collaborating with others. The course will focus on both the use of improvisational techniques and exercises to build these and other core skill sets, and the application of those skill sets in simulations of fundamental lawyering tasks, specifically client interviews, negotiations with opposing counsel, and oral argument. Students will also work in teams on a group project and presentation.

Course Credits: 5157 • Course Type: 2 • Course Type: Simulation Course • Course Priority: General Enrollment Course • Graduation Requirements: Experiential Learning • Full Year Course: No


Although the volume of research around the intersection of applied improvisation and law is small, it is growing. These are some of the topics written about.


Improvisation is the art of making stories up on the spot and is acknowledged in the business community and more recently by some mediator commentators, to assist with the development of skills in spontaneity, creativity and respectful collaboration.
These skills can arguably assist mediators to progress from novice to ‘artistic’ or expert mediator practitioner.

Mediators need to co-author the story of the conflict that brings the parties to the mediation table.
However, generally mediators have not been trained in the art of storytelling.

The paper posits that mediators trained in the art of improvisation will be able to contribute spontaneously, creatively and respectfully to the re-storying of the mediation dispute and that this understanding will assist mediators to practice with ‘artistry’.

Kathy Douglas (2007), ‘Mediation and Improvisation: Teaching Mediators to Improvise the Storylines of Mediation’, Murdoch University – e-Law Journal’


Improv competencies: active listening; stay curious; everything is an offer; respond in the moment.

Trust is key for successful relationships; it grows as self-interest wanes and listening improves. Supporting colleagues fosters trust, creating a collaborative and high-performing work environment. In such settings, including improv teams, trust enhances cooperation and can improve outcomes, like sales.

The link between work relationships based on trust, and profitability is through the profit motive of ‘play’.[4] This motive, as well as improv concepts such as “yes, and…” drives sales performance.[3]. Overall, there are clear links between high performance, productivity[1][2] and profitable[6] organisations.

[1] “The use of … competencies gained through the improvisation workshop resulted in high performance and productivity after 1 month and 3 months at the participants’ work environments” Prof. Dr. Satya Subrahmanyam (?), ‘Corporate leadership: A privation for improvisation of techniques’, International Journal of Commerce and Management Research’

[2] “In follow up interviews one month after the study, participants continued to enjoy higher levels of productivity and performance.” Dr. Farnaz Tabaee (20/6/2013), ‘Improv Boosts Leadership Skills – Effects of Improvisation Techniques in Leadership Development’, Applied Improvisation Thinking’

[3] “Findings show that higher levels of salesperson improvisation are associated with increased sales performance.” Abena Yeboah Banina, Nathaniel Bosoa, Magnus Hultman, Anne L.Souchon, Paul Hughes, Ekaterina Nemkova, ‘Salesperson improvisation: Antecedents, performance outcomes, and boundary conditions’, Industrial Marketing Management’

[4] “Improvisers become businessmen, the relationship becomes the deal, and play becomes the profit motive.”

[5] “Here too, research appears to positively correlate improv with team cohesion and trust“;”The increased positive energy, trust, and mutual regard that stems from these activities can help participants feel validated, cared for, and understood – hallmarks to positive relationships“;”I will attest that improv trains individuals in interpersonal mindfulness, perspective taking, and active constructive responding skills. … it is these elements that lead to the previously cited outcomes of increased interpersonal connection, collaboration, trust, and effective communication.” Jordana Cole (1/8/2020), ‘I’ve Got Your Back: Utilizing Improv as a Tool to Enhance Workplace Relationships’, Scholarly Commons, Master of Applied Positive Psychology Capstone Projects, Penn Libraries, University of Pennsylvania’

[6] “We’ve known for a long time that human performance and business performance are correlated. … Heskett, Sasser Jr.. and Schlesinger published their now-famous book ‘The Service Profit Chain’ and established the causal link between profitability and customer loyalty, and employee satisfaction, loyalty and productivity”

ACTIVE LISTENING (Trade Article) 🇺🇸

“It’s very common when talking to someone to start tuning them out and planning what you’re going to say in response while they’re still speaking,” said John Windmueller, WIT@Work training manager. “The idea is that I can use that extra time to prepare… But that doesn’t always make for the best conversation.”

Maura Mazurowski (25/9/2019), ‘Lawyers find improv comedy skills help them think fast‘, Virginia Lawyers Weekly


A case study from the US on how a law firm rescued its reputation and financial standing (write up available on Linkedin).

PROBLEM: clients didn’t feel safe and cared for in the lawyer’s presence, often felt criticised and shamed. So clients held critical information back or went to the competition. The managing partner was unable to nail the source of the problem, and was going nuts.

SOLUTION: improv training around “yes, and”, creativity, collaboration, uncomfortability, and adopting open exploratory questions. To be empathetic and by the client’s side during their scary battles, and also felt heard and supported.

OUTCOME: increased confidence from clients to help their lawyer’s build the best case; substantial increase ($750K) in extra work.


Case Study, Simon Gomes, lawyer

Improv has helped me in how I manage my team is especially improved my listening skills.
Whereas before, if I was in a meeting, I’d be obsessing about the agenda, trying to keep everything on track, and not really listening. Now I’m in the room, engaging with people’s ideas, so I can understand and respond to them. Also, I’ve removed ‘but’ from my language. Rather than responding to someone with “Yes, but…” now I’ll say, “That’s really good, and have you thought about this?” The idea is that we are building something together, as opposed to competing over who is right.

I am acutely aware now that the language you choose as an impact on others, and if you use ‘but’ the person just hears “No”. Improv is not saying yes to everything. “yes, and…” is about building a better version of what either of us has separately. It’s still disagreement, but it’s productive. It’s a healthier way of sharing your perspective with others. Since I’ve met this simple change, people feed back to me that I am much more collaborative than I used to be.

Max Dickins (14/7/2021), ‘Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work – Chapter 5: Collaboration’, Icon Books


“A juror’s perspective: ‘One particular trial stands out in my memory, especially the difference between the prosecuting and defence attorneys. The defence attorney spoke first. He was calm, relaxed, looked the potential jury members in they eye and smiled. I liked him immediately. The prosecutor spoke next and barely looked at us. He stuttered. He frequently referred to his notes. He was fidgety and uncomfortable and tense. “Oh boy”, I thought, “this guy is going to lose his case”. He was obviously prepared, he was organized, and it seemed that he was following a plan for the trial. He was also impossible to listen to for more than a minute. Here was someone who spent six years in law school, passed the bar, earned his legal degree, and yet he didn’t have the communication skills to back it up. He was like a surgeon that couldn’t hold a scalpel steady’.”


Both book excerpts reference Charles J Limb, Allen R Braun (27/2/2008), ‘Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: An fMRI study of jazz improvisation’, PLOS one, 3(2):1

“Dr. Charles Limb and Braun discovered that during the improvised riffs, the jazz musicians’ medial prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain associated with language and creativity) significantly increased in activity, whereas their dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (the conscious control part where you judge and correct your behavior) became dormant. Fascinated by these results, Dr. Limb […] carries out similar studies with freestyle rappers, and most recently, with improvisational comedians with very similar results.” – Quote from Max Dickins, ‘Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work – Chapter 3: spontaneity’, Icon Books

“[Second City is] participating in a neurological study with Dr. Limb’ where he has improvisers underneath an fMRI machine. What he has discovered so far is, the brain is in a different state when it’s improvising. And in particular, the fear and shame parts of the brain go way down when you’re improvising …” – Francesca Gino (11/7/2018), ‘Why it Pays to Break the Rules’, Second City Works


“A juror’s perspective: ‘One particular trial stands out in my memory, especially the difference between the prosecuting and defence attorneys. The defence attorney spoke first. He was calm, relaxed, looked the potential jury members in they eye and smiled. I liked him immediately. The prosecutor spoke next and barely looked at us. He stuttered. He frequently referred to his notes. He was fidgety and uncomfortable and tense. “Oh boy”, I thought, “this guy is going to lose his case”. He was obviously prepared, he was organized, and it seemed that he was following a plan for the trial. He was also impossible to listen to for more than a minute. Here was someone who spent six years in law school, passed the bar, earned his legal degree, and yet he didn’t have the communication skills to back it up. He was like a surgeon that couldn’t hold a scalpel steady’.”

Jeffrey Drivis (15/2/2012), ‘Whose Trial Is It Anyway? Using Improv To Help Lawyers ‘Present’ More Effectively‘, Kluwer Mediation Blog


“When negotiating, improvisation demands that parties deal with the reality they are presented in real-time, rather than continually revisiting scenarios of what they believe could or should be. By limiting oneself to a scripted plan, options for solving problems are narrowed and opportunities for solutions are more likely to be missed. Improvising instead of following a script or a plan allows the flexibility to stay nimble, and operate more freely and authentically.”

Jeffrey Drivis (15/2/2012), ‘Whose Trial Is It Anyway? Using Improv To Help Lawyers ‘Present’ More Effectively’, Kluwer Mediation Bl.

“Yes, and” is your superpower, more powerful than the ‘but’. Use it to it’s fullest extent to power success for everyone around you.


In collaboration with management, we explore listening, accepting and building. This opens up even the most reluctant participants, growing the team closer.


Within 45 minutes initially, we find what lies behind issues that hamper the people, teams and organisation.

No matter what industry, it generally comes down a lack of listening, acceptance, support, respect or trust.



Based on ① we find paths out of this static state, and develop tailored activities which build on each other. With these, we see a way to see a better version become real.


Each activity builds on each other, building trust, care and respect, reflecting on how to use them at work. Some people may rise to become Advocates for this new culture, helping people regularly practice and ground this new culture.


We regularly adapt the program to meet and exceed most KPIs. We do this by observing changes in real-time and setting long-term goals beyond the program.

Quickly develop trust with clients without breaking a sweat


Perfection and self-criticism 

Visible in: impeded productivity, increased stress levels, impaired judgment, and strained professional relationships

ISSUE: Sarah is drafting a crucial multimillion-dollar merger contract between numerous companies. She meticulously researches and scrutinises, spending hours fine-tuning the language to ensure clarity and accuracy. Despite this, she constantly doubts her work and fears making mistakes that could jeopardize the deal.

THREAT: Her perfectionism leads her to work long hours, sacrificing personal time and sleep to meet her unrealistic standards. As the deadline approaches, Sarah’s self-criticism intensifies, and she becomes hyper-focused on minor details, losing sight of the bigger picture. This leads to heightened stress, insomnia, and irritability, struggling to maintain her mental and emotional well under feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

HOW IT RESOLVES: Sarah remembers her AIM training, and starts countering the negative cycle by using ‘and’ rather than ‘but’ or ‘however’ when speaking to colleagues.

OUTCOME: This helps her stabilise, stay positive and not affect others negatively that she is working with.

Despite her expertise, Sarah’s relentless pursuit of flawlessness leads to pervasive self-doubt, heightened stress levels, and an inability to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

With AIM techniques, she shifted her language from ‘but’ or ‘however,’ to ‘and’. Sarah begins to counteract her negative thought patterns, stabilise her emotions and lead to a more positive and constructive mindset. Now her negative emotions are more in check and not adversely affecting her colleagues.

Now the whole culture benefits.



Visible in: 

ISSUE: David, a corporate lawyer from Brisbane, is passionate about his work and thrives in the fast-paced environment of M&A. However, he struggles with chronic work-related stress and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The long hours, demanding clients, and high-pressure deadlines have left him feeling mentally and physically exhausted, leading to symptoms of burnout.

THREAT: He now doubts his effectiveness as a lawyer, as it is becoming increasingly difficult to focus, make sound decisions, and communicate well with clients and colleagues. And he’s not alone: 

HOW IT RESOLVES: While researching strategies to overcome these issues, he comes across ‘applied improvisation’ (AIM) – a methodology that promotes spontaneity, adaptability, and resilience in the face of uncertainty.
David enrolls in an AIM ‘legal professionals’ workshop whose activities provide the internal tools to reduce stress, enhance creativity, and improve interpersonal skills. He acquires
‘play with purpose’ skills to better manage his stress, stay present in the moment, and
‘make others look good’, which is central to successful client relationships.

OUTCOME: When incorporating AIM into his daily routine, he experiences a number of changes: his wellbeing is up, he becomes more adept at managing stress and setting boundaries. He prioritises self-care amidst his demanding workload. With a more flexible and adaptive mindset, he navigates the work challenges and effectively serves his clients.
Through AIM, he not only overcomes his burnout but also emerges as a stronger, more resilient lawyer, poised for continued success in his career..

The key takeaway is that applied improvisation (AIM) offers lawyers a transformative approach to addressing common mental health challenges while enhancing professional performance.

By embracing principles such as spontaneity, adaptability, and collaboration, lawyers develop new skills to thrive within the demands of their high-pressure job.

Whether it’s overcoming perfectionism, managing chronic stress and burnout, or navigating complex legal situations, AIM provides a holistic framework for building resilience and promoting well-being. This creates a more balanced, resilient, and fulfilling professional experience, leading to better outcomes for both themselves and their clients.

We will build a custom program so you can meet your goals.

And we'll have a productive conversation when we talk.

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