More Project Management & Process Improvement Courses Added

Due to increasing demand, we are now offering additional dates to attend the Legal Lean Sigma Institute instructional courses in Process Improvement and Project Management. The highly interactive, experiential-learning courses combined lecture with hands-on experience to illustrate the effectiveness of the tools and methodologies. Our past attendees have cited the practicality of the course, the benefit of collaborating with others facing similar challenges, and the variety of perspectives we and other participants share -- these courses are ideal for law firm partners, law firm associates, finance professionals, marketing & business development professionals, corporate General Counsel, in-house counsel, procurement professionals, and both novice and experienced practitioners of either project management or process improvement. While most of our work is customized and delivered privately to law departments and law firms, these pubic open-enrollment courses provide a great opportunity to see the ideas in action, to interact with similarly situated colleagues facing the same resistance and catalysts to change, and to gain a better understanding of how and at what pace to roll out such an initiative in your organization.

Our next open enrollment white belt certification course is a one-day workshop, held in Los Angeles on May 24, 2016, and hosted by the law firm of Greenberg Glusker.

Our next open enrollment yellow belt certification is a two-day workshop, held in Boston on July 26-27, 2016, and hosted by Suffolk Law School.

For more details on costs and registration, click here. For more information on process improvement and project management, click here and here and here.


Timothy B. Corcoran was the 2014 President of the Legal Marketing Association and is an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change. For more information, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at

Random thoughts on the future of law and technology

I have the good fortune of meeting and collaborating with some pretty influential players in this cozy little global profession of law practice. Monica Bay is one of those with whom, and from whom, I've learned a great deal. While it's shocking to comprehend the passage of time, I first worked alongside Monica over 20 years ago when we were colleagues at a spunky little technology startup called Counsel Connect, a division of American Lawyer. You can probably google the history somewhere, but essentially Monica and I were part of an effort to bring social media and technology to the mainstream legal profession long before it was cool to do so. I played a minor role in comparison to the other staff members and volunteer contributors, many of whom continue today as thought leaders in this field. But over time I've gained a few insights of my own, and I've had the luxury of sharing my learnings and wisdom, such as it is, as a leader, manager, mentor, and now consultant, where I regularly offer insights at law firm and law department retreats, at conferences, and, of course, on this blog. I was delighted when Monica, in her role as roving reporter at the recent ILTACON15, asked me to spend a few moments reminiscing on what we've seen transpire in this profession, and what we see coming in the near and long-term. We touch on the role of technology, the demise (?) of the billable hour, project management, process improvement, change management and how incentives influence the pace of change, and what's next. I hope you enjoy watching and listening to our conversation as much as I enjoyed having it.


ILTACON 2015 - ILTA TV - Monica Bay interviews Timothy Corcoran from ILTA on Vimeo.

Upcoming Legal Lean Sigma Certification Course in Project Management and Process Improvement

What is it? The Legal Lean Sigma Institute is hosting another of its popular "open enrollment" white belt certification courses in project management and process improvement. Join us in Chicago on November 11 for an in-depth dive into PM and PI. We combine lecture and interactive exercises to help attendees understand and then apply PM and PI concepts adapted for implementation in the law firm and law department settings. We cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, but participants will leave with a solid understanding of both the fundamentals and how they can be applied.

Who should attend?

The white belt certification course is ideal for those who are ready, or getting ready, to embark upon a continuous improvement initiative within their organizations. It's also a great refresher for those who have had some exposure but haven't had much opportunity to engage. We held a standing-room only session earlier this year exclusively for in-house counsel, so those who were unable to join us are welcome. We've also held a number of private white belt and yellow belt certification courses for clients in the US and Canada, so this session is ideal for team members who have joined your continuous improvement initiatives but weren't at the initial training. This is also an ideal session for law firm and law department leaders who don't expect to personally dive into the details, but need to know enough about these concepts to establish a vision for continuous improvement and then supervise the effort. Of particular interest to senior leaders are the modules on understanding the economics of continuous improvement. Think PM and PI are bad for law firms, because efficiency doesn't pay as well as inefficiency (even though it's not cool to say that out loud)? We'll show how law firms can generate greater profits from PM and PI while improving client satisfaction. Think your law department is too complex to "routinize" all of your legal matters? We'll show you how to better link upstream your business management's needs with your law department resources and mission.

How do I enroll?

The event is produced by our friends at the Ark Group, so visit their site here to register. As of this writing, there are individual seats available and a few slots for teams.

Collaboration - It's not just for breakfast anymore

Orange JuiceOne of the most iconic and memorable advertising slogans was developed by the Florida Orange Growers Association to expand interest in orange juice from a breakfast drink to an all-day drink. "Orange Juice - It's not just for breakfast anymore." This slogan came to mind recently after I conducted a project management and process improvement workshop for nearly 100 in-house counsel. The program provided an overview of key concepts along with opportunities for attendees to begin applying the learnings to their own particular law department challenges. One section was devoted to collaboration with outside counsel, with the underlying rationale that few law departments operate in isolation. Sooner or later, in-house counsel will need to rely on outside counsel, so we'd better understand how best to communicate in order to maximize the collaboration. Indeed, some of the most effective and impactful workshops occur when both in-house counsel and their outside counsel representatives come together at the same table. A handful of in-house counsel offered feedback after the workshop that the trend in their organizations is to keep more I work in-house, so they suggested we de-emphasize the need for collaboration with outside counsel. This trend has been widely reported elsewhere. Trouble is, this is not a sustainable trend. Yes, of course, there is some legal work that is more effectively managed in-house. There is also some work that doesn't need to be handled by the legal department at all. And there is a great deal of legal work that can benefit from treating it like it isn't the first time we've encountered it. Ron Friedmann and I will be exploring this as part of our #DoLessLaw panel at the upcoming ILTA conference. But, and let me be gentle here to any potential empire builders, there is no way most CEOs will agree to a long-term shift of outside counsel spend to in-house counsel spend.

Businesses make products or deliver services. The good ones have a narrow focus and develop significant expertise in their core competency. For some, it's a unique product feature; for others, it's a business process, like a lean supply chain or a global distribution infrastructure. But one thing is certain -- doing legal work is far from the organization's core competency. That's not to say the in-house legal department, if one exists, does a poor job. In fact, oftentimes quite the opposite is true. A small group of lawyers takes on an astounding array of legal topics every day with efficiency. But growing the legal department is not an area of strategic priority for the CEO. We want to be good at it and not waste money but nor do we want to spend a single dollar or Euro or Pound more than necessary to achieve the desired results. For every law department that is in-sourcing legal work in order to exploit efficiencies and save money, there's a law department that five years ago in-sourced and now a new CEO has determined that the organization can save on its carrying costs by outsourcing non-core functions, like legal work. Many law firms exist solely because companies don't want to do legal work when an equivalent investment in new product innovation can generate far greater returns.

So collaboration between in-house counsel and outside counsel is here to stay. But I'm astounded to learn how few organizations have a systemic, sustainable, measurable program of collaboration between in-house counsel and outside counsel, let alone between in-house counsel and the internal clients who rely on them. We need to fix this. We can talk all day long about developing a philosophy of continuous improvement, and we can all attend process improvement and project management workshops, but until we do this together, with all stakeholders represented, we won't maximize the benefits of our collaboration.

With that in mind, the good folks at CounselLink asked me to offer some suggestions for how in-house counsel and outside counsel can approach collaboration, beyond merely working on a legal matter together. Jump over to the CounselLink Business of Law blog for "7 Creative Ideas to Kick Start Collaborative Legal Conversations." And while you're at it, go ahead and share some of your own. After all, we're all in this together. Collaboration -- it's not just for breakfast anymore.


Timothy B. Corcoran is the immediate past President of the Legal Marketing Association and an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments, and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change.  To inquire about his services, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at

Do Less Law - Redefining Value in the Delivery of Legal Services

I have the good fortune to be invited to attend the upcoming ILTA annual conference to join my friend Ron Friedmann in conducting an interactive workshop entitled "Do Less Law." This session builds on a growing concept that the maturation of law practice is as much about doing less as it is about doing more with less, a concept that Ron coined in a November 2011 article "To Reduce Legal Spend, Do Less Law" and that he has since expanded on his blog and #DoLessLaw tweets. As regular readers know, I have also addressed this concept regularly here and in my other speeches and articles. Corporate law departments face budget pressure and demand more value from their law firms. Yet many cannot clearly define value. Some in the market equate value with efficiency.  A focus only on efficiency, however, misses many other opportunities to control cost and create value. Doing something efficiently that does not need doing at all still wastes money. What exactly does it mean, however, to do less law? And how big an opportunity is it?

At ILTA 2015, we will have an opportunity to crowdsource the answers. In preparation for the interactive session at ILTA, this post introduces the idea in more detail and seeks feedback.  Below is the taxonomy of Do Less Law options. Whether you think the ideas are terrible or great, we welcome comments or email to help refine it. And, we hope to see many of you at our session on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, at 3:30pm PDT in Las Vegas.  Our goal at the session is to get you and your colleagues discussing these ideas and deciding which are worth pursuing – and how to pursue them.

Do Less Law Taxonomy

1. Do what we now do but better 1.1 Improve Efficiency 1.1.1 Automate Lawyers learn tech to their work faster and more consistently 1.1.1. 2. Market adopts interactive advisory systems (e.g., Neota Logic) or cognitive computing (e.g, IBM Watson) to supplement or replace lawyer work 1. 1. 2. Improve process to eliminate waste 1. 1. 3. Manage work to control effort (legal project management) 1. 2. Reduce Cost 1.2.1. Staff matters with lower cost resources (“alternative staffing”) 1.2. 2. Partner with or use alternative providers (LPO, New Law, doc review companies, or .lower cost firms 1.2.3. Reduce overhead with smaller offices, moving work to low cost centers, and working virtually)

2. Do what we now do but less intensively 2. 1. Scope matters systematically, more specifically, decide explicitly the level of effort warranted 2.1.1. In transactions, decide what risks need papering 2.1. 2. In litigation, use risk analysis (decision trees) to value matters 2. 2. Stick to scope with legal project management (LPM)

3. Do less than we do now by practicing preventive law 3. 1. Improve compliance (or decide consciously the appropriate level of compliance) 3. 2. Identify legal risks in advance and then act to avoid them 3.2.1. Conduct legal health audit and act on findings 3.2.2. Use big data and analytics to find problem Detect prior “bad patterns” to prevent future recurrence 3.2.2. 2. Identify risky behaviors via analyzing email traffic (“big brother”) 3.3. Train corporate employees to comply where cost of non-compliance is too high

4. Re-think how we do what we do now 4. 1. “Settle” sooner 4.1.1. Decide litigation settlement value earlier and stick to it 4.1.2. Decide transaction key terms and stop negotiating when you get them 4.1.3. Decide how thorough a counseling answer is enough – what risks are you willing to live with – boulders or motes of dust? 4.2. Create open source law (this is not the law of open source code) 4.2.1. Pool know-how and re-usable documents across clients (privately or publicly, e.g., Docracy) 4.2.2. Think of this as collective knowledge management (KM) 4. 3. Automate contracts 4.3.1. Use existing technology more and more effectively Analyze and systematize contracts (with, e.g., KM Standards) Build document assembly systems Deploy contract lifecycle management software (e.g., Apttus or Selectica) Use eSigning software 4.3.2. Re-invent contracts Write contracts as software code Write contracts as database records (XML, JSON, or similar) Design and deploy a Blockchain approach 4.4. Re-think litigation 4.4.1. Substitute information governance for eDiscovery 4.4.2. Do risk analysis (e.g., decision trees) to assess individual matters and portfolios 4.4.3. Assess cases early and decide consciously whether to look for boulders, rocks, stones, pebbles, or motes of dust. 4.4.4. Online dispute resolution 4.5. Automate counseling 4.5.1. Collect inquiries systematically (KM) 4.5.2. Develop interactive advisory systems to handle high volume problems 4.5.3. Convert regulations into code


Timothy B. Corcoran is the immediate past President of the Legal Marketing Association and an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises leaders of law firms, in-house legal departments, and legal service providers on how to profit in a time of great change.  To inquire about his services, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at