Continuous Improvement

Will Lean Six Sigma bubble up to Big Law?

January 29, 2014

It’s often said the new ideas in office management and other aspects of the legal practice trickle down from big law firms to smaller firms, and eventually, even to sole practitioners.  For example, globalization of the legal profession and market arguably began in big law firms in the 1990s.  But now, even sole practitioners understand that the legal profession is part of a global marketplace.  Solos and small firms may outsource legal work to professionals on the other side of the globe, sending draft documents by email at the end of the day to a lawyer in India and receiving a review copy in their inbox the next morning.

But is it possible for new ideas to bubble up from small firms to big firms?  I think so.  The methodologies of Lean Six Sigma are a perfect example of what I mean.  Yes, there are large firms, most notably Seyfarth Shaw, that have integrated Lean into many aspects of their firms. But there are smaller firms, like Miller Titerle  or Valorem Law Group, who are applying Lean principles in very effective ways – even if they don’t speak specifically of “Lean” or “Six Sigma.”

Implementing Lean Six Sigma is a big undertaking.  (That’s an understatement.) But I’m wondering if the agility that small firms – and even solos – have don’t make them the perfect place for the legal profession to start experimenting with LSS.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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