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A framework for models of law department operations

A model simplifies reality so that the analyst can grapple with the fundamentals of a system (See my post of July 14, 2006: narratives, theories and models; and May 21, 2009 #3: three kinds of formal models.). Some primitive verbal models aim to do something similar for legal departments (See my post of April 9, 2008: four fundamentals – people, processes, structure, and resources; April 8, 2009: productivity, quality and risk; May 19, 2006 #1: all law department activities viewed as information flows, processes, or systems; Aug. 13, 2006: processes, tools, and productivity; and Oct. 10, 2006: adds volume and resources to the model.).

Components of law department models answer different questions. Who does the work (people, which includes structure)? How do they do the work (processes, which includes roles)? What helps them do their work (productivity enablers, which includes technology and tools)? The least well nown component is “Why do they do their work?” In the spirit if “Ps” call it “pulmonary. This component of the model connotes the department’s heart, culture, level of engagement, client relationships, and all that gives meaning to work: friends and colleagues — corporate mission, pro bono, diversity, work-life balance, the environment, the morality of a company.

Other models applicable to law departments are already mentioned in earlier (See my post of Aug. 28, 2005: McKinsey’s 7S framework of structure, style, skills, shared values, systems, staffing, and strategy; Feb. 16, 2006: Booz Allen Hamilton’s organizational DNA with structure, decision rights, information, and motivators; Sept. 22, 2005: systems thinking with feedback and inter-connection; April 27, 2006: the science of services; and Oct. 1, 2005: conflicting views in economic models.).

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