Manufacturers have been studying and implementing some form of the Toyota Production System and lean for over a hundred years. For the most part, however, law practitioners have never heard of it, let alone used it in their work. Why? One reason may be the law's focus on tradition. It is a conservative and slow moving field, by nature. Another reason may be the billable hour, which creates little incentive (some would even say disincentive) to eliminate waste.
But those days are over. The corporate world's efforts to eliminate waste from their supply chain is finally reaching law firms. The global economy demands efficient service. And to the extent we can, we lawyers ought to deliver.
Yet, as far as I could find, this is the first mention in any legal publication of lean concepts and law practice (more about this interview later). When I've mentioned to manufacturing clients that I use lean concepts in my practice, the reaction has been along the lines: "You know what lean is?" And many law firms seem to epitomize the opposite of lean -- lots of waste, and little respect for people.
So I believe the time has come for this blog, an idea that has been a percolating in my mind for about a year. I hope you enjoy reading and commenting.
D. Mark Jackson