In this podcast, Lourdes Slater, the CEO of Karta Legal LLC, discusses Lean Six Sigma and other business methodologies to improve processes at law firms and target pain or pressure points they are facing.
Karta Legal LLC is a woman-owned consulting firm with a focus on legal technology services and IT. Karta Legal’s aim is to change management through design thinking and process improvement and deliver services using Lean Six Sigma and Agile Legal Project Management techniques.
Can you define the diversity & inclusion challenges faced by law firms today?
It comes down to the lack of integration of both diversity and inclusion. While big law has been trying to be diverse, there isn’t any inclusion in the higher positions for minorities. This challenge has been addressed more so on the client’s end when they see diversity being advertised and they don’t end up seeing that same diversity being included among the stakeholders of the firm.
What is Lean Six Sigma and what is Agile?
Lean Six Sigma is a methodology and a set of tools that management can rely on to improve the performance of a project. Lean Six Sigma is a way to use other statistical tools to show if your efforts in making your partnerships more diverse are really working. Agile is a project management tool that schedules the process and makes the deliverables happen. I highly suggest using both simultaneously to increase productivity
How can you improve the process of diversity and inclusion?
To help with actually improving and effectively implementing diversity & inclusion, I like to recommend a tool called the DMAIC Cycle. It stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control. This tool has been well tested and tried out for years by other people who advocate the lean six sigma approach.
I also suggest holding Kaizen events. Kaizen, which is Japanese for improvement, aims to get feedback to improve diversity & inclusion by gathering a group of cross-functional employees all at different levels of your firm. Then as a team, discuss and figure out the specific problems and challenges at your firm that are being faced at your firm.
How can you measure the problem?
After you’ve defined the challenges, the next step is measuring them. Measuring and reporting allow the Lean Six Sigma facilitator to be able to provide valuable information to the stakeholders in order to determine a decision. I suggest starting by figuring out how much this challenge is affecting your clients, business, and employee morale. Through measuring you can fully evaluate all of the diversity efforts that your firm has made. Then analyze the root issues and the flaws in your metrics.
How do you control your path to improvement?
After you’ve done the work of addressing and measuring the problem, you want to be able to have a method to continue this process on a regular basis. Lean Six Sigma uses this concept of Continuous Process Improvement so that you avoid leaving everything that you’ve learned at the door. The goal of this process is to always try to revisit the problem so the firm is actively working on improving the situation. Equity partner ranks will show progress and advancement because you can see the tools are being put in place. This is not just a marketing tool, it is giving your clients a chance to speak up.
In reality, you can use this framework to basically any problem that a law firm is facing. Whether it is diversity & inclusion, improving service delivery, or enhancing your marketing. This definite mythological approach of Lean Six Sigma uses checkpoints, transparency, and continuous review in order to solve the diversity & inclusion problem that firms face.