After several years away from blogging I’ve decided to give it another go with a new subject and an outrageous goal: to develop a Grand Unified Theory of Legal Value.™ I’ve spent years in operations, in legal practice, and in legal operations, always in search of ways to deliver outstanding customer value. While I’m not nearly so bold as to think that I can actually come up with the best and final answer to the legal value equation, I think it will be a lot of fun to try.
My hope is to discuss and draw from the tools and techniques that have powered modern businesses to new levels of achievement, but that aren’t (yet) widely practiced in the legal world. These include Lean, Agile, Six Sigma, Kanban, the Theory of Constraints, and surely others we’ll encounter along the way. I am a student of all of these methodologies, but I offer fealty to none. They all have their strengths, and each will suit some situations better than others.
If I do have devotion to a single concept, that concept is Kaizen, or continuous improvement. Not coincidentally, Kaizen surrounds and penetrates each of the above techniques, binding them all together. No system or process is ever perfect, and no learning is ever complete, but by practicing and embracing kaizen we can get a little closer to perfection every day.
One other point I will insist on is that with the right mindset, and a little bit of coaching, you can significantly improve your ability to deliver true legal value without a massive effort. I daresay you can even do it without much of a plan. I know that statement is anathema to most lawyers, and especially to consultants (both are my current jobs). I believe, however, that once you begin to understand the nature of value and how to recognize it (and its absence), and once you have a few tools for recognizing the value stream in your work, then you will naturally adjust the systems, processes, and methods you use to maximize and communicate customer value.
My hope is for this blog to be part of a conversation, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions, comments, and critiques. Thanks for reading.© 2014 John E. Grant.