Introducing Lean to Law
Welcome Back Readers!
Working in a law firm and looking to dramatically improve your processes? Then look no further than Lean.
Let’s imagine your firm, like many service organisations new to Lean, has a few, or even many employees, whether in client facing or support roles, who have their own way of doing things.
No one sets out to create this variation, it just happens. Like anything left untended for long enough, processes can get out of control. The easiest way to deal with the situation is to tinker here and there. Which is not a good idea.
So, where does this variation come from? Perhaps the uptake of technology has not been evenly spread across individuals or teams, perhaps there have been some mergers with smaller firms and you’re hoping differences in process will work themselves out, somehow. Maybe you tried to improve things a while back and the success and uptake was mixed. Or perhaps, at a moment’s notice, everyone had to leave the office and start working from home. More on this in a second.
When employees tackle their work in this inefficient and costly way, most processes will fall short of their full potential. Employees will spend more time and energy trying to understand these differences and solving the problems created, than they will in serving the needs of a client or in taking the time to improve those processes. And they do need to be improved.
Of course, COVID-19 has not helped. It has forced everyone to work from home, which worsens the disconnection amongst employees and employers. And of necessity, you probably made changes to how things are done. But how did you go about making those changes? The ‘you’ I am talking about here, is ‘you’ the individual, ‘you’ the team, and ‘you’ the entire organisation. Were those changes made in a structured way, perhaps using Lean, or was there a bit of ‘seat of the pants’ going on? And if your first tweak didn’t work, did you get those pants out again?
A structured methodology to change process, mindset and working habits is needed now more than ever. Post-COVID-19, do you want to go back to the old way of working, or do you want to take the improvements made to date and enhance them even more? You know now that change is not the big bug-bear it has always been made out to be. If you can change overnight because of COVID-19, then you can easily change in response to other imperatives. But, this time, let’s be a bit more structured about it. Let’s think ahead so we are in a much better place should another crisis arrive, not that we want it to.
And, don’t forget your client base has changed as well. They are now used to new ways of doing things and want quality work completed faster and cheaper. If you’re one of those firms that doesn’t learn from recent experiences and decides to go back to the old ways, well, those of your competitors who have embraced change will probably find your old clients beating a path to their doors. And you don’t want that to happen.
Stay tuned! Our next blog about Lean and Law will look at process improvement in legal contexts.
If you want to know more about Lean, or about how we can help you, please get in touch at [email protected].