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Gimbal's Tip of the Week

The Lean Law Firm Blog

E207: Motion waste got you bogged down? Maximize efficiency with this tip

case study process improvement Nov 15, 2023
Someone sits at their desk, typing on their laptop. The person's hands are blurry from so much movement, like a long exposure image.

When your legal practice is buzzing with activity—when everyone and everything is moving—it feels like you have a busy and thriving practice. But if that movement isn’t adding value, it’s a waste. 

We’re nearing the end of our series on the DOWNTIME framework, helping you identify different types of waste that impede your overall success. M is for Motion, and this waste can easily, and quickly, seep into your days if you’re not vigilant and purposeful. Let’s dig in.

Your Tip: Motion waste refers to any unnecessary movement of people that does not add value to your legal process. Eliminating motion waste will enhance both your efficiency and productivity. 

Your Action Item:  Identify at least three examples of motion waste in your practice. Here are some examples:

  • Ineffective document management systems that require you and your team to physically search through filing cabinets or navigate complex digital desktops and folders to find relevant documents.
  • Unnecessary in-person meetings that do not contribute significantly to the progression of an active case or project.
  • Overly complex digital workflows that require too many clicks to find information or too much navigation between different systems.
  • Poor office layouts that force people to travel long distances to access equipment or resources they need

Pro tip: check on your printers! In many firms we’ve worked with, printers are a huge source of waste (and not just motion waste). 

At one of our client firms, a group of paralegals had to walk 75 yards each way to access their assigned printer (yes…we measured!). And they were doing this 150-yard round-trip as many as 30-50 times a day. The solution was easy and basically free: relocate the printer. But until we asked them to identify the DOWNTIME wastes in their workplace, no one had thought about it. That walk to the printer was just the way they’d always done things. It was their “normal.” 

Once you’ve identified your motion waste, what are you going to do about it? Whether it’s implementing a well-organized document and case management system, eliminating unnecessary in-person meetings, or something as simple as moving your printers, every change you make will free up you and your team to do more of what matters most.

Get more ideas for eliminating the eight most common wastes in your legal practice with our free guide. And if you’re ready to eliminate waste for good, book a free 30-minute strategy call with us!

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