6.17.2005

Raindance Report:
Instituting Quality Initiatives

Both law firms and in-house law departments are rolling out quality initiatives to achieve specific measurable goals according to a panel of experts.

Connie Cook Laug, a quality specialist who has worked for Graydon Head & Ritchey and the Center for Quality Management, asserted that quality improvement teams need the direction and support of a Chief Quality Officer. She added that successful initiatives focus on just a few vital measurements. "Two goals are good, but five is too many," she said, warning that organizations can easily lose focus of multiple goals for change.

Adair Sisk, who has led the marketing efforts of King & Spalding for the past 15 years, has now shifted her focus to a service excellence initiative. She suggested that initiatives need a mission, a vision and specific service standards goals to be met, as well as internal training and performance reviews to insure success.
Sisk added that her firm's initiative has met little resistance. "Lawyers are actually grateful for having a service excellence initiative... as a differentiation from other firms," she said.

A corporate law department perspective was added by Jim Michalowicz of Tyco International, who explained how a quality initiative reduced litigation costs, case cycle times and total cases while supporting diversity goals of Tyco.

His department consolidated the outside work of 167 law firms into one dedicated provider completely familiar with Tyco and its typical litigation needs, achieving a measurable improvement in several areas including reduction in average settlement outcomes as a percentage of initial demands.

"The other benefit of using metrics is for marketing the law department's achievements to the board of directors," Michalowicz added.

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