The article talks about the process improvement by using Lean Six Sigma in Law and report legal process excellence.
Clifford Chance’s, one of the world’s largest law firms, has adopted both Lean and Six Sigma tools to show process improvement. There are employees who are being trained and dedicatedly working for this purpose. The firm is extensively making the use of Lean and Six Sigma for the purpose of legal process excellence and running projects in all its offices.
Lean Six Sigma is extensively used in almost every industry but its use and implementation of in law has been slow. The acceptance for process improvement using Lean Six Sigma in law wasn’t easy; however, commoditization, recession and some additional factors have affected the legal industry, which led to a change in conventional thinking and practice.
Legal work is widely seen as a spectrum, where high end legal services are at the top and the routine and repetitive legal services are at the other end. The Hunoval Law Firm provides the routine and commoditized end of the legal spectrum work. It has been using Lean Six Sigma since 2012 to reduce errors, increase efficiency and decrease processing time of transactions.
The use of Lean Six Sigma in Law is not restricted to the so-called commoditized end. Process improvement can be beneficial in other arenas too; therefore, many law firms – including Seyfarth Shaw, etc. have been applying Lean principles in various ways to great effect.
It’s not just law firms that have been adopting process improvement principles in response to commercial pressures. Many companies, like DuPont, are widely acknowledged to have used Lean Six Sigma within their legal departments.
In legal industry there are areas of work where process improvement alone can be of little value but there is certainly plenty of opportunity. According to Lynn Simpson, the lawyers would be able to see how by using Six Sigma legal process excellence can be achieved. They will understand that it’s not just a framework that forces them to do extra work but it brings added value.
But the goal of process improvement should not be only cost reduction. It is important to focus on other objectives too and maintain a balance else one might end up compromising on efficiency and outcome. For this purpose, Trevor Faure’s Smart Legal Model is suggested. According to Faure one can’t make progress without the triangulation that the model suggests.
Many commercial businesses have realized as they grew more experienced with process improvement that the real gains had come from a focus on improving customer satisfaction rather than cost. The goal must be to provide value to the clients, which means providing them what they want in the way they expect it.
The economic and commercial imperatives for in house counsel and law firms are inclining in favour of more widespread adoption of process improvement and technology.