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Six Sigma: Driving Better Law Firm Business Decisions

Driving Better Law Firm Business Decisions with Six Sigma

When the recession of 2007 sent the legal sector reeling there was a tremendous drop in billable hours and a significant loss of legal sector jobs.

Following a quarter century of enormous boom in business, law firms were suddenly faced with a retracting market. Competition between law firms grew tremendously, with big law fighting over the same pool of potential clients. More so than ever before, it’s become essential for firms to change their business development strategy in order to cope. Of course, none of this is news to anyone who works in legal, right?

But what’s the best way for a law firm to address the new reality? Taking a page out of the manufacturing sector’s book would be a good place to start. The shift in the legal marketplace is not unlike the plight that American manufacturing companies faced over the last two decades, when manufacturing output declined more than 40 percent because of competitive challenges and improvements in the computing sector.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”

A favorite quote of mine is from W. Edwards Deming, the father of the quality revolution: “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” The fact is, law firms today must change their approach toward, and their unfavorable view of, marketing and business development. And much like the manufacturing companies that faced competition successfully by focusing on the fact-based decision making process known as Six Sigma, that change in approach can benefit law firms, too.

How can borrowing a concept of the top Fortune 100 companies and applying it to the business of law benefit law firms?  I know from my own experience that it can help drive revenue growth, give firms a competitive advantage, help them attract and retain clients and give business leaders the opportunity to replace intuition with fact- based decision making.

My view of Six Sigma is that it is as much about innovation, creativity and change management as it is about number crunching. Successful Six Sigma Initiatives focus on:

  1. Using valid data to drive decisions
  2. Eliminating defects – getting rid of noise and waste
  3. Implementing Process control – fixing it once and keeping right
  4. Removing human error
  5. Improving customer experience

As I’ve learned firsthand, when applied to the process of law firm marketing and business development, such a focus can improve client retention, client win ratios and marketing and BD ROI.

Those attending the LegalTech® New York 2016 tradeshow can learn more about applying Six Sigma principles to law firm marketing and business development in my Track 3 presentation on February 3 entitled, Seamless Marketing Content, Technology and Analytics for Optimized Client Journeys.

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 Michelle Woodyear is a client advisor with LexisNexis® InterAction® team.

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Photo credit:  Flickr, woodleywonderworks, I see math problems (CC BY 2.0)

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Contributing Writer
This bio page is used to publish submissions by contributing writers. We welcome contributions from the legal community and are especially keen for contributions from our customers. Please review previous submissions published here and the “About Us” section to get a sense for what topics work for this blog. All posts must be original content not published elsewhere for at least 30 days. To submit an idea for consideration, please email blsssocial@lexisnexis.com.

I have always considering going into law school after I graduate.  I actually really liked reading this post, and I just wanted to say thanks for teaching me about the six sigma, and the focus on innovation and creativity.  This has definitely been a good read, and I know that it will greatly benefit me. http://www.vanblk.com/Offices/Norfolk