TaskMap Professional DataSheet
Process Mapping for the Legal Profession
A growing number of law firms are using process mapping and process improvement tools and systems in their practices. Others are investigating whether better process documentation can help them improve how they do their work and how they interact with their clients.
Law firms have been leveraging technology for many years. Litigation practices, in particular, know the value of scanning, indexing and storing documents in searchable databases, so their staff can research cases thoroughly prior to a trial. In fact, the ability to leverage technology has led to an increased number of out of court settlements, in large part due to improved “discovery” techniques.
In addition, law firms have been using process mapping technology to document and manage the work associated with IT systems, because those systems are essential for meeting this industry’s deadline-driven activities.
The Process-Driven Law Firm
Law firms are always looking for ways to get a competitive edge in this demanding economic situation, while at the same time trying to minimize risk and increase quality. What better way to do this than to standardize on their own best practices?
In order for this to happen, a firm’s best practices must first be documented so that people can follow them. Because it can take years for a freshly minted lawyer to become a seasoned attorney, firms that take advantage of process mapping technology to train new hires can save months or even years in bringing new attorneys up to speed.
Process-driven law firms typically focus on processes in the following areas:
Familiarizing Clients with Legal Processes
Clients are often uneasy because they don’t know what to expect when they engage a law firm. They don’t know what’s going to happen, what their responsibilities are, when various steps will take place, what the outcomes might be – in short, they don’t have any clue about the processes used by a law firm.
Using process maps to demystify legal processes can dramatically enhance the communication between the client and the firm and can help the firm to set the client’s expectations.
The TaskMap below provides one example. It outlines the steps for a misdemeanor case by clearly showing:
Connecting the Dots
Process maps enhance staff and management understanding of a process in many ways. One key benefit is that everyone can see how the elements of the process are connected. A good process map eliminates all questions about who does what, in what sequence, and how one action relates to another.
A process map provides even more value when process elements are hyperlinked to the data and systems that support the process.
Additional benefits of process maps include:
The example below highlights these features.
And it’s easy to share process maps with employees, clients, or both, because TaskMaps can be published to a web site or a PDF document.