Why is Legal Process Improvement more important now than ever before? And what are the benefits?

Where do opportunities lie for your firm?

Where do opportunities lie for your firm?

Quick question to start, who said: “an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”? The answer is provided at the end of this blog.

We all know that the legal services industry is currently facing a number of difficult challenges stimulated by external market and macroeconomic forces, such as:

• Challenging economic conditions putting pressure on fees and squeezing margins
• Introduction of the Legal Services Act (in the UK) reducing barriers to entry to new entrants and ABSs
• Tough banking market leading to liquidity and working capital challenges
• Changes in social trends with people much more willing to access information online and a growing dissatisfaction with the ‘bill by the hour’ model
• Rapid advancement of new technologies and introduction of online substitutes for traditional legal services.

In short, conditions are difficult and, according to our mystery quote-provider, the good news is that means there are a lot of opportunities!

As every New Year shows, to be able to seize these opportunities, we need to be in good shape. It’s the same with our law firms. We want to be productive, performing well, highly-motivated, with lots of available cash and free of risk and errors.

Over the last decade, Process improvement has been shown to help businesses and law firms achieve all of these things:

• Substantial improvements in productivity (as measured by throughput and efficiency);
• Significant leaps in profitability (as measured by operations margins, matter recoveries and margins)
• Large increases in quality of service performance (as measured by customer satisfaction and internal quality metrics);
• Improvements in staff motivation and engagement through being deeply involved in change;
• Release of huge amounts of cash from lock-up and working capital;
• Reduction in exposure to risk; and,
• 100% error-proofing of key processes.

Legal Process Improvement can help to seize the opportunities presented by the difficult market conditions. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It also begs the question, why doesn’t every firm complete Legal Process Improvement projects or programmes? The truth is, “I don’t know”, but I wonder if the full quote from the start of this blog gives the answer:

“An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.”
Winston Churchill

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