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The McKinsey 7S’s framework for analyzing a law department

I firmly believe that we can best understand law departments, or try to understand those frustratingly complex creations, if we apply the insights of systems theory. Part of doing so is to have a model or a framework. A useful one has been developed by McKinsey, which is commonly known as the “7S Framework.”

The seven components (here’s a clue: they each start with an “s”) are structure, style, skills, shared values, systems, staffing, and strategy. It’s possible to analyze a law department reasonably well using those components. Much more can be said about this McKinsey framework, but its core proposition holds that a law department operates best when all seven components are in alignment.

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