Yesterday I attended the joint Process Improvement workshop for Lean Lawyering, which was hosted by several Florida public-interest lawyers and LegalRnD at the State Bar of Michigan. Here’s a link to the workshop’s website:
There were about 40 participants at the meeting, and I had the opportunity to meet and share ideas with practicing practitioners from law firms, legal aid entities, courts, and corporations from around Michigan.
The conference was very thoughtfully organized and included experiences from the implementation
of process improvement techniques by Amy Burns, Deputy Director of Florida Rural Legal Services; Ilenia Sanchez-Bryson, Chief Information Officer at Legal Services of Greater Miami; Kristen Lentz, Managing Attorney for Disability Rights Florida; and Melissa Moss, Principal/owner of CatalystZone, LLC. Though I’ve attended a number of lean thinking and process improvement conferences, this was the first time that I’ve heard from actual attorneys who’ve implemented the process.
Discussion topics at the conference all centered around implementation of lean thinking (Toyota Way) for Law to improve efficiency and quality of services rendered. After learning of the speakers’ experiences incorporating process improvement into differing aspects of their practice and operations, attendees were given the opportunity to learn by doing.
To teach process improvement through the use of a real-world example, attendees were
broken into small groups to help streamline a legal aid’s walk-in service. The current conditions, as pictured, of the legal aid’s walk-in service results in an average of 58.2 minutes for clients to be serviced. Groups were asked to map the process, pictured to the right. The groups were asked to implement process improvement techniques to decrease the average time of service to 30 minutes. My group started off by mapping the current process and identifying areas for potential improvement. We next asked ourselves why the system took 58.2 minutes for clients to be serviced. Once we determined that it was a result of the process, we next asked ourselves why again. Once we were five levels deep into the why process, we finally had our answer!