It’s getting harder all the time for Big Law to adapt to the technological and economic uncertainties that now characterize the legal market, leveling the playing field for smaller and more nimble firms. The advancement in legal technology means that process improvements once reserved for sufficiently large organizations can now be implemented, and even augmented, in any system regardless of size. If process improvement can be applied to individual types of work or entire countries, it can also be applied to a law firm with tangible benefits. One area in which process improvement is gaining traction is in its application to determining flat fee pricing and associated cost calculations.
Staying Competitive by Incorporating Lean Six Sigma Practices
A misconception amongst lawyers is the notion that incorporating new processes and methodologies requires a ground-breaking re-imagining of their current world. However, many small law firms today are succeeding by incorporating business and process methodologies as well as concepts and ideas that have been applied in other industries.
Lean Six Sigma is one such methodology. It is based on the following core principles:
- Customer focus
- Identifying and understanding how work gets done
- Managing, improving and smoothing out process flow
- Removing Non-Value-Added steps and waste
- Managing by fact and reducing variation
- Involving and equipping the people in the process
- Undertaking improvement in a systematic way
Small law firms can benefit from Lean Six Sigma practices, from intake to invoicing. One way to begin is by implementing a Control Chart, a concept originally developed in the 1920s, that can help identify and reduce variation in the legal work process, and increase predictability.
This increase in predictability allows for increased use of alternative fee agreements and increased profit margins.
For more information on how you can operate at a higher level of productivity and efficiency while maintaining cost-efficacy, please download this free whitepaper: Understanding Statistics and the Flat Fee.