March 17, 2017

Applying Lean Six Sigma at Your Firm

by Debbie Foster, Affinity Consulting Group, LLC

The business of law isn't what it used to be, the economic climate has changed and the billable hour is dying. Clients want value, and lawyers face increasing competition from customary rivals as well as emerging online DIY companies that have commoditized many of the services historically provided by traditional law firms.

It is time to start thinking about how to revolutionize the way you practice law. It's time to start thinking about accomplishing more while using less resources. For lawyers to succeed in this new marketplace, they must be efficient and effective. They must be innovative and willing to reinvent themselves to stay ahead of the pack. Today, lawyers must deliver quality legal services and value to their clients. It’s time to build a better mousetrap.

Lean Six Sigma is a methodology widely adopted in many industries that is making its way into legal. It is the marriage of two philosophies: Lean, which is all about efficiency and eliminating waste, and Six Sigma, which focuses on quality of work, or doing things right the first time. LSS is also all about the client, and understanding what is valuable to them.

Value is defined as something that changes the client’s situation, something the client is willing to pay for and something that is done right the first time. If an action you are taking does not provide value to the client, it’s time to examine the process and adjust, eliminating waste.

This eight-part series is going to focus on the eight Wastes – how you can recognize them and how you can work to eliminate them in your firm. Check back on March 31 as we tackle the first waste: Defects.