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Did you know there is more to practicelaw than just forms?  practicelaw is designed to be a repository of resources intended to help your practice.  Similarly, the MSBA’s practiceblawg is a blog for the Association to share with you how the MSBA can help you improve your efficiency and grow your practice.  The MSBA offers members a number of products and services and is always looking for ways to better serve its members and provide greater value.

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Small Firms: Go Lean to Compete

by Joe Kaczrowski | Apr 13, 2015

"Do more with less."  In today's competitive market, lawyers are facing economic pressures from all sides.  Solo practitioners and small firms must still compete with the big firms but now also face increased competition from newcomers like LegalZoom.  How does an attorney stay competitive when facing challengers on all sides?  One way is to reevaluate his or her processes and work flows to increase efficiency and the value to the client.

Practice management software like Clio is one tool lawyers can use to optimize their practice.  But in the end any software package is just a tool that must be effectively employed to realize any gain or savings.

Law firms are beginning to adopt concepts long used in other industries.  One such concept is "Lean Six Sigma."  The first goal of this method is to trim the fat from any given process by removing any step in the process that does not add value to the client.  The second goal is to remove variation in the process to increase the accuracy and consistency of the (budget) predictions for that process.  The key principles of Lean Six Sigma are:

  • Focus on the customer.
  • Identify and understand how the work gets done (the value stream).
  • Manage, improve and smooth the process flow.
  • Remove Non-Value-Added steps and waste.
  • Manage by fact and reduce variation.
  • Involve and equip the people in the process.
  • Undertake improvement activity in a systematic way.

For those interested in more on Lean Six Sigma, specifically on how to use control charts to improve your work flow, check out this free whitepaper from Clio.