Applying Process Improvement
Techniques to Boost Your Firm and Grow
Your Business
Silvia L. Coulter, Principal
LawVision G...
The Value Challenge: It Exists Everywhere
• All professional services firms’ clients expect more
for their money

• Firms ...
Ongoing Pressure
• In fact, our economic system essentially guarantees the need for
ongoing process improvement
• Changes ...
What is Process Improvement?
Process Improvement is the systematic practice of:
• Analyzing a process to understand the ho...
Process Improvement and Project Management
• Process Improvement helps you to define the process

• Project management hel...
What is Lean Sigma?
•

Lean Sigma is both a process improvement
methodology and a toolkit

•

The methodology consists of ...
DMAIC and the Process Improvement Roadmap
DEFINE-

What are the opportunities for improvement
that will achieve the organi...
The Intersection of the Teams—Room for All
• Let’s pick a process……….
– Who is involved?

9
Process Improvement and its Applications in
the Law Firm

10
Firm/Client Points of Interaction

11
How To Begin?
• Top/Down or Bottom/Up?
• Involve Key Stakeholders
• Identify a Process (or a few) (VPs from client side)
•...
Process Improvement as a Value Add From the
Clients’ View

13
Typical IP Litigation Case Process
Defendant’s Perspective
Retain local counsel. A factor to
keep in mind, should be the j...
Typical IP Litigation Case Process
Defendant’s Perspective
Scheduling Conference,
Docket Control Order,
Discovery Order

T...
Typical IP Litigation Case Process
Defendant’s Perspective
Expert reports

Expert
Discovery

- e.g., invalidity
- non-infr...
Value Add—One Law Firm’s Approach
• Situation: Mortgage Bank was told by the Board to cut
outside legal costs.
• Law Firm ...
Case Study - Solutions
Solutions included developing:

– Client protocols
– Standard transaction processes
– Standard oper...
Case Study – Sample Results
Time Charges

Before:

After:

From: Six Sigma Legal
Services for Mortgage
Loans, Richard J. S...
Value Add: Client Case/Firm Example
• Review of internal audit department to assess risk
assessment and risk mitigation pr...
Powerful, Not Always Implementable…Why?
• Key stakeholders were not involved in the process

• Other reasons???

21

21

©...
Try It!
• Review the Exercise
•Assign a Scribe
–Use a blank piece of paper to take notes about process and for
final workf...
Report Out
• Your Team’s Approach to Exercise I or II.

23

23

© Hildebrandt International
Thank You!

Silvia L. Coulter, Principal
LawVision Group LLC
scoulter@lawvisiongroup.com
617-697-4869

24

24

© Hildebran...
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LMAtech2013: Applying process improvement techniques to boost your firm and grow your business

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The continued struggle in-house counsel and clients face to contain legal costs may seem at odds with outside counsels’ struggle to reach annual hour and revenue expectations. Yet, these respective goals may be aligned in ways inside and outside counsel have not considered. The key to cost containment and to maintaining strong revenue numbers at firms is to create consistencies with the deliverable, apply sound process improvement principles to the legal work product and thereby decrease inefficiencies and increase throughput to use lean sigma terms.

This workshop will teach the fundamentals of process improvement and how, from your seat within the firm, you may facilitate change and help show how the goals for inside and outside counsel really do align.

The workshop includes:
•Review of Six Sigma/Lean Sigma as it applies to law firms
•The various roles in a process improvement strategy: business development, IT, knowledge management, and attorneys
•Applying process improvement in your department—through a fun interactive exercise
•Driving process improvement at your firm from your seat at the table
•Using process improvement as a value-add business development tool

Hour 1: Overview
•Process Improvement and its various elements
•Six Sigma methodology
•A process improvement exercise

Hour 2: Table reports
•Process improvement examples
•Process improvement as a value add from the client’s view

Presenter

Silvia Coulter, Principal, The LawVision Group

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
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  • LJC
  • CAM – mention very high level overview only
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  • LMAtech2013: Applying process improvement techniques to boost your firm and grow your business

    1. 1. Applying Process Improvement Techniques to Boost Your Firm and Grow Your Business Silvia L. Coulter, Principal LawVision Group LLC © 2011 LawVision. All rights reserved.
    2. 2. The Value Challenge: It Exists Everywhere • All professional services firms’ clients expect more for their money • Firms must consistently generate month to month financial results while continuously building a long term sustainable business model • Current environments demand superior performance • Limited ability to differentiate—fierce competitors • Must be in collaboration with the buyer to define and deliver value 3
    3. 3. Ongoing Pressure • In fact, our economic system essentially guarantees the need for ongoing process improvement • Changes in the business environment are constant and are taking place at an ever-increasing rate •Clients •Employees •Regulators •Competitors •Technologies • These changes create requirements for higher process capabilities and higher process efficiencies • Your processes should be changing as fast as the environment is changing (or ―the end is in sight‖ -Jack Welch) 4
    4. 4. What is Process Improvement? Process Improvement is the systematic practice of: • Analyzing a process to understand the how and now • Searching for issues, problems, and opportunities in the process, and prioritizing them • Employing tools and techniques to solve priority problems or capture significant opportunities • Controlling the new process to deliver anticipated benefits 5
    5. 5. Process Improvement and Project Management • Process Improvement helps you to define the process • Project management helps you to manage the process • Process improvement helps take time and waste out of a process • Project management helps implement toward promised results • Intricately tied together 6
    6. 6. What is Lean Sigma? • Lean Sigma is both a process improvement methodology and a toolkit • The methodology consists of investigating a process and improving it by using a set of five principles, in a particular sequence: 1. Specify Value in The Eyes of The Client 2. Reduce Waste and Variation; Create Consistencies 3. Make Value Flow At the Pull of The Client 4. Align and Empower Employees 5. Continuously Improve In Pursuit of Perfection *Lean.org is a valuable resource for more information 7
    7. 7. DMAIC and the Process Improvement Roadmap DEFINE- What are the opportunities for improvement that will achieve the organization’s goals and provide the largest payoff? MEASURE- What is our current performance level? ANALYZE- What re the true root causes for gaps or problems in performance? IMPROVE- What are the possible solutions and how do we implement the best solution? (What are the key deliverables?) CONTROL- How do we maintain the gains we have achieved? 8
    8. 8. The Intersection of the Teams—Room for All • Let’s pick a process………. – Who is involved? 9
    9. 9. Process Improvement and its Applications in the Law Firm 10
    10. 10. Firm/Client Points of Interaction 11
    11. 11. How To Begin? • Top/Down or Bottom/Up? • Involve Key Stakeholders • Identify a Process (or a few) (VPs from client side) • Select 5-7 People Involved in the Process • Map out the Process (view from clients’ eyes) • Look for Errors; Gaps in Deliverable • Redefine the Process • Implement New Process • Provide Opportunity for Continuous Feedback 12
    12. 12. Process Improvement as a Value Add From the Clients’ View 13
    13. 13. Typical IP Litigation Case Process Defendant’s Perspective Retain local counsel. A factor to keep in mind, should be the judge assigned to the case. Preliminary Activities And Case Management Prepare for collection and production of documents, per the automatic Requirements of the local patent rules. Identify people and documents relating to the accused systems and/or methods. Consider obtaining opinion of counsel. Consider jurisdictional issues and venue Review the asserted patents and file histories. Analyze the accused systems and/or methods. Respond to the Complaint Search for prior art. Consider defenses: Consider counterclaims: -Non-infringement - Invalidity – e.g., for prior art etc. -Unenforceability – e.g., inequitable conduct, etc. - Laches and equitable estoppel - Standing and rights in the asserted patents - Patent infringement - Antitrust issues - Other business torts Consider third-party claims 14
    14. 14. Typical IP Litigation Case Process Defendant’s Perspective Scheduling Conference, Docket Control Order, Discovery Order The litigation schedule will key off the date of the scheduling conference. Consider how much discovery will be required: The local patent rules have automatic provisions for infringement contentions by plaintiff and invalidity contentions by defendant. The local patent rules have automatic provisions for document production: - Number of depositions - Number of written discovery requests - Production by plaintiff of documents relating to prior art and potential prior art, and documents relating to plaintiff’s development of the patented subject matter - Production by defendant of documents that show the functionality of accused systems and/or methods, and documents relating to prior art. Interrogatories Fact Discovery Fact depositions Discovery motions Identify patent claim terms for construction Serve claim construction contentions for identified terms Claim Construction File Joint Claim Construction Statement Briefs Hearing 15
    15. 15. Typical IP Litigation Case Process Defendant’s Perspective Expert reports Expert Discovery - e.g., invalidity - non-infringement - damages Depositions Dispositive Motions For example, for summary judgment Of non-infringement and/or invalidity Pretrial order Exhibits Final Pretrial Preparation Witnesses Motions in Limine Jury instructions Usually occurs within a year of The Scheduling Conference Trial Count on ten trial days at most. 16
    16. 16. Value Add—One Law Firm’s Approach • Situation: Mortgage Bank was told by the Board to cut outside legal costs. • Law Firm Solution: using a Lean Sigma process the firm reviewed the entire process for providing services and was able to cut time and waste out of the process and thereby reduce legal fees. They presented this solution as a way to align with the Bank’s goal of reducing outside legal spend. 17
    17. 17. Case Study - Solutions Solutions included developing: – Client protocols – Standard transaction processes – Standard operating procedures – Standard forms – Improved data integrity – Document preparation software – Standard forms of communication 18
    18. 18. Case Study – Sample Results Time Charges Before: After: From: Six Sigma Legal Services for Mortgage Loans, Richard J. Sabat, 19
    19. 19. Value Add: Client Case/Firm Example • Review of internal audit department to assess risk assessment and risk mitigation procedures – E.g., fertilizer plant explodes—enormous liability—are you prepared? • The 5 As of Risk Assessment was developed: – Assess Risk – Accept or reject risk – Avoid risk, transfer risk or reduce risk to an acceptable level – Analyze performance gaps – Act to improve 20 20 © Hildebrandt International
    20. 20. Powerful, Not Always Implementable…Why? • Key stakeholders were not involved in the process • Other reasons??? 21 21 © Hildebrandt International
    21. 21. Try It! • Review the Exercise •Assign a Scribe –Use a blank piece of paper to take notes about process and for final workflow/Map, etc. •Assign a Presenter 22 22 © Hildebrandt International
    22. 22. Report Out • Your Team’s Approach to Exercise I or II. 23 23 © Hildebrandt International
    23. 23. Thank You! Silvia L. Coulter, Principal LawVision Group LLC scoulter@lawvisiongroup.com 617-697-4869 24 24 © Hildebrandt International

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