Process Improvement has been proven to work in almost every other industry – why aren’t more law firms undertaking similar programmes?

Why aren't more law firms investing in Process Improvement programmes?

Why aren’t more law firms investing in Process Improvement programmes?

Process Improvement works in almost every other industry, what’s so different in Law Firms?

Some of the results of Process Improvement in other industries are phenomenal!

Just consider these validated industry averages:

• Direct labour / productivity improvement: 45 – 75%
• Cost reduced: 25 – 55%
• Throughput / Flow increased: 60 – 90%
• Quality (Defects reduced): 50 – 90%
• WIP reduced: 60 – 90%
• Capacity increased: 35 – 50%
• Lead Time reduced: 50 – 90%

As unbelievable as these results are, these numbers are not made up. If you need more convincing, let’s consider a couple of examples.

Two businesses that have really embraced Process Improvement are Toyota Motor Corporation and General Electric (GE).

Toyota pioneered the Lean management methodology (which focuses on minimising waste) and Jack Welch’s GE embraced Six Sigma (which focuses on minimising process variation).

First of all, note that Toyota are the only automotive firm to be consistently profitable for 74 of the last 75 years (that includes numerous economic cycles, recessions, depressions and the second world war!). How much of that success has been attributed to “Lean” and the “Toyota Production System” that developed from it? Well, it has been argued that Toyota’s Lean approach was the key driving force in revolutionising the global car industry.

Similarly for GE, one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world, Jack Welch once went on record to say that “Six Sigma changed the DNA of GE”. These are extreme examples of the transformational impact of Process Improvement but they are very real examples.

Is there an opportunity to do the same in the legal industry? I am certain there is.

It’s difficult, over a short-written blog, to explain exactly how, but I’ll put up a video soon to explain (so remember to click “follow” to keep updated). In the meantime, if you’d like to hear more, then please do get in touch.

Why are so few law firms really embracing and investing in Process Improvement?

There are only a handful of law firms that I’m aware of that are really looking into the huge opportunity that Process Improvement offers.

Take a moment to imagine what a productivity improvement of just 45% would mean for your firm? It would be substantial, wouldn’t it? So why aren’t more law firms investing in Process Improvement programmes?

Below is a list of reasons that I’m aware of. Which of these are relevant to you? (Select as many as are relevant – all results will be anonymous).

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2 responses to “Process Improvement has been proven to work in almost every other industry – why aren’t more law firms undertaking similar programmes?

  1. “There are only a handful of law firms…looking into the huge opportunity that Process Improvement offers.”

    I was told around 50% of the top 100 were doing it. I’d say a lot of firms outside are doing this as well but many are using internal (junior) staff and missing the benefits you highlight.

    Why?
    It takes a fair amount of confidence to show a senior partner that how they thought work was completed isn’t true. Is that going to happen with a junior member of staff?

    Regards,
    Mark

  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your interesting comments.

    This blog was originally posted nearly 2 years ago and, personally, I’ve sensed a big increase in the number of firms that are now applying elements of process improvement to their practices. It also feels that the trend is continuing to increase.

    Best wishes,
    Darren

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