Posted by: johnocunningham | December 27, 2011

Top 10 Tech-Related Trends in Legal Practice (#5)

Process Improvement and Project Management: Law firms on the leading edge are adopting tools and even taking courses related to process improvement and project management, which often result in or come coupled with improvements in technology.

Six sigma process improvement principles and basic tenets of project management and leadership have driven many of the improvements in business products and cost efficiency in the last few decades.

These principles can be applied to any business, including a professional service business, and they are essential to understand in a highly competitive environment. They are perhaps the most essential thing that you do not get in law school.

In the past, law firms have not had to understand how to maximize efficiency and manage projects to meet budget forecasts while improving quality. There were not many firms who approached process improvement and project management as a science, and clients just paid the bills.

But oh how times have changed. Larger clients are growing their in-house staff and bringing more work in-house, where lawyers trained in these systems are handling projects more efficiently. Many larger law firms are also adopting process improvement and project management disciplines to reduce their costs and speed up delivery times while improving overall quality.

Some of the many resources available to lawyers for learning about process improvement and project management include the following that were mentioned at the FirmFuture conference in Boston:

  • LegalLeanSigma.com;
  • Paragon Legal Technology Support (for better e-discovery and trial productions);
  • TimeManagementForLawyers.com (for improving the use of precious time to get more done in a shorter amount of time);
  • MPmagazine.com (for managing partners);
  • “Project Management for Lawyers,” a book by Barbara Boake and Rick Kathuria;
  • SharePoint for simply developing step-by-step checklists to make processes uniform, quick and practical;
  • Cynapse.com for better approaches to collaboration, information sharing and knowledge management.

Note: The author of this blog is not endorsing any of the products or services mentioned herein, but simply summarizing some of those which have received attention from users and members of the trade press as well.

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