The advancement in legal technology
means that process improvements
once reserved for large organiza-
tions can now be implemented, and
even augmented, in any system re-
gardless of size.
If process improvement can be ap-
plied to many types of work or entire
countries, it can also be applied to a
law firm with tangible benefits.
One area in which process im-
provement is gaining traction is in its
application to determining flat fee
pricing and associated cost calcula-
Staying Competitive with
A misconception among lawyers is
the notion that incorporating new
processes and methodologies re-
quires a ground-breaking re-imagin-
ing of their current world.
However, many small law firms to-
day 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 meth-
odology. It is based on the following
It’s getting harder all the time for Big Law to adapt to the techno-
logical and economic uncertainties that now characterize the
legal market, leveling the playing field for smaller and more
One area in which process improvement is gaining traction is
in its application to determining flat fee pricing.
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For Small Firms: Improving Legal
Processes and the Flat Fee
> Customer focus
How Small Law Firms Can
> 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
> Involving and equipping the
people in the process
> Undertaking improvement in
a systematic way
Benefit from Six Sigma
Small law firms can benefit from
Lean Six Sigma practices from intake
One way to begin is by imple-
menting 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 al-
lows for increased use of alternative
fee agreements and increased profit
The Flat Fee
One way that a process or legal ser-
vice can be done with fewer billable
hours is a flat fee arrangement.
If we have a flat fee arrangement
with a client, and are more efficient
with our work (not more sloppy or
reduced quality), the amount of sav-
ings internally (money/time) turns
into extra profit or capacity for more
clients, without reducing the current
level of profits for partners.
To start, a law firm should focus on
accurate prediction of legal costs in
order to establish a baseline for
measurable process improvements.
Then, once the return on investment
of the process improvement has oc-
curred, the firm can make a strategic
decision on whether or not to share
that cost saving with the client.
For more information on ways to op-
erate at a higher level of productivity
and efficiency while maintaining
cost-efficacy, please download a free
white paper at
click on More, then on Resources to
access the whitepaper.