This is one of the best articles I've seen on how Lean principles should be transferred to law firms but the author is, as you might expect, an in-house lawyer being required to operate a Lean system and urging law firms to go there. I'd love to hear from BigLaw firms as to how they're approaching "going Lean".
If we have to run Lean, so should our outside counsel. My colleagues at firms may protest this state of affairs. To them it’s: “If you want cheaper law firm costs, go to cheaper firms,” or, “You get what you pay for.” Those protestations miss the point; I don’t want less for less. I want the same or better for less. It is the same thing that is being asked of me and my colleagues and what my company is asking of all of its vendors. Indeed, in the past several years, the economy has inadvertently forced law firms to perform this type of evaluation themselves. It isn’t a far jump for legal service providers to evolve from emergency waste removal as an act of desperation to thoughtful waste elimination as a strategic act of long-term improvement.