A model simplifies reality, to the point where scientists, engineers, consultants or economists can describe at a high level and quantify the elements of the model (See my post of July 14, 2006 on narratives, theories and models.).
What are some models of law departments already entertained in these posts?
McKinsey 7S framework (See my post of Aug. 28, 2005: structure, style, skills, shared values, systems, staffing, and strategy.);
Booz Allen Hamilton’s organizational DNA (See my post of Feb. 16, 2006: structure, decision rights; information, motivators.);
Systems thinking (See my post of Sept. 22, 2005 on that discipline.);
Information: flows (See my post of April 27, 2006 on the science of services.), processes, and systems (See my post of May 19, 2006 #1.); and
Rees Morrison’s home-grown model (See my posts of Aug. 13, 2006 on processes, tools, and productivity; and Oct. 10, 2006 which adds volume and resources.).
Out of this morass of models, I lean toward two concepts as the core organizing principles for law department management (See my post of March 16, 2006 on self-doubts.): productivity and alignment. Alignment means doing the right tasks; productivity means doing those tasks the right way.