Can A Law Firm Be Lean?

We're fortunate to work with a bunch of great law firms.  We see first hand how challenging an environment it can be with downward pressure on fees, competition from all corners, and rigid organizational structures that aren't built for adaptability and resilience in a time of disruption. 

So, you don't need to look very far to see news of some of the largest firms being forced to merge or fall into bankruptcy. Many firms are now revisiting just how they do business and what they offer to their customers.

McKinsey Quarterly recently published a fascinating piece on how Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw is reinventing their operations to provide more value while controlling their costs.  They embarked on the journey to incorporate Lean Management principles with two initial projects.

"Once both projects were showing strong results, we started the next partnership meeting by saying, “We are embarking on this journey. We know you’re sitting there reading your paper and waiting for this latest management fad to pass. It’s not going to—this is going to be part of who we are and what we do as an organization, and here’s why.” One of our partners spoke about the changes in conflicts, where we reduced processing time by 86 percent and the number of errors by 90 percent. Then a partner from the lending group described how the changes led to better allocation of resources and higher fee recoveries."

If you have a few minutes, you should give it a read. Nutritious and low fat.;)

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