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The Lean Law Firm

 Maximizing value and minimizing blog at a time.


Lean 101: The Four Goals of Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma has been described as many things: a philosophy, a set of management practices aimed at efficiency and effectiveness, a methodology for improvement, a strategy for running a business. In truth, Lean Six Sigma is all of these and more.

Lean Six Sigma is a melding of two business improvement strategies: Lean and Six Sigma. You can learn more about them here. Although not all of the methodologies and practices that apply to manufacturing are transferable, Lean Six Sigma is now seen as one of the most important change agents in the service industry. And it is coming to a law firm near you. Are you ready?

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5S: Restoring order, preserving your sanity and increasing your productivity

Do you ever wish you could just push everything on your desk into the garbage and start fresh? Have you ever spent too long looking for a “lost” document, only to find it under a pile of paper? Are you frustrated by clutter and disorganization? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you are wasting time and losing money.

The solution? 5S. Five simple steps that will help you become more effective and efficient in your legal practice. 5S will restore order to your workspace, preserve your sanity AND increase your productivity. Think how your clients and your business will benefit!

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Gimbal -- What's in a name

When we started our company, we thought long and hard about a name. We knew exactly what we wanted to do for professional service firms: guide them through the changes required to remain competitive and profitable.

Because our goal is to help lawyers in law firms and in-house navigate the ups and downs of a changing economic and legal landscape, we wanted a name that symbolizes navigation in some way, and also reflects what we do. We give attorneys the tools they need to thrive in the face of increased competition from legal process outsourcers, contract attorneys and non-traditional providers of legal services. We empower them to give their clients the highest level of service at lower cost, and in less time.

Basically, we want to make the practice of law more efficient for lawyers and clients alike, so lawyers can increase the flow of quality, value-adding work, stay profitable and, at the same time, offer their clients more predictable fees and even better service. Lean Six Sigma lets us do all that, but it’s not really a catchy name and the logo options are pretty dire.

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Evolution: Welcome to The Lean Law Firm

For more than 20 years as a lawyer, I’ve listened to my colleagues–corporate counsel and private practitioners alike–discussing the lawyer-client relationship and the direction the legal profession is heading. The talk has never been as dire as it is today.

From both in-house counsel and attorneys in private practice, the overarching message seems to be that the legal landscape is In the April/May 2012 edition of National, the Canadian Bar Association called it a sea change. Lawyers must adapt, or they won’t survive "the onslaught of competition, commoditization, downward pressure on fees, and the arrival of venture capitalists that are radically changing the delivery of legal services."

The hunt is on for a better way to drive value and meet–or even exceed–clients’ expectations. I believe that to thrive in this new landscape, lawyers need to transform the way they do business and improve the way they provide services. Attorneys in the UK and the US have been grappling with the changing legal landscape for some time. Lawyers in Canada are starting to examine the ways they manage the business of law and contemplating the transformation required.

So what do clients really want?

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