How Does Lean Lawyering Work?

To implement this Lean-Lawyering philosophy, Mr. Walsh shall begin every client relationship with an extensive discussion with the client to identify and detail the client’s litigation objectives.  It is critical that Mr. Walsh understand what a client wants to achieve because the client’s objectives define what “value” means to the client.  Indeed, this focus on the client’s objectives is the heart of any lean philosophy.  In a seminal book on lean philosophy called The Toyota Way, the author, Jeffrey Liker, stressed the importance of starting with what the client wants:

[The] first question in [lean manufacturing] is always, ‘What does the customer want from this process?’…This defines value.  Through the customer’s eyes, you can observe a process and separate the value-added steps from the non-value added steps.  You can apply this to any process—manufacturing, information, and service.

 By answering this question first, Mr. Walsh has a much greater opportunity to resolve the legal dispute in the most cost efficient manner because he can ensure that all actions taken are aimed at adding value.  If the litigation objectives are determined later in the process, any unnecessary actions cannot be avoided.  The following graph illustrates this principle by showing how resources spent early in the “design” of a product create the greatest opportunity for cost savings throughout the product’s manufacturing process.