The idea of a lean business was recently made popular by Eric Ries’s book, “The Lean Startup.” The lean concept involves eliminating waste and resources that don’t create value for the end client. This practice has become predominant in the tech world, in which companies create a minimum viable product, test it early and often, and adapt to client feedback. But how can we adapt lean concepts to law firms and the legal industry that is service-based? Where should a new law firm start?
In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Nicole Bradick, former litigator and chief strategy officer at Curo Legal, about what it means to have a lean business, how to apply lean concepts to law firms, and where new lawyers and established law firms can start. Bradick begins by clearly explaining the lean concept; the company builds a minimum viable product, measures how it helps clients, learns and adapts to feedback, and repeats the process. Lawyers can use lean concepts, she says, by making fewer initial assumptions about client needs and adapting to what works.
She discusses how law firms should maintain low overheads to adjust for shifts in the market while adopting efficient practices to increase productivity. Cloud-based technologies like practice management systems, contact relationship management systems, email platforms, research tools, and document management systems can be beneficial in streamlining practices, but Bradick urges lawyers to properly learn to use the technologies or risk creating more problems. Obviously, starting a lean law firm is easier said than done, but it will likely be successful in this changing legal market.