Firm not resting on its laurels with Continuous Improvement initiative
Most firms will say they are serious about improving continuously, but Clifford Chance is so serious it has launched a Continuous Improve-ment programme. Launched early this year, it identifies ways of making processes more efficient. Former capital markets associate Oliver Campbell has been appointed to run the project as global head of business transformation.
Clifford Chance claims to be the first international law firm to launch a programme on such a large scale, but Allen & Overy’s Business Improvement Unit, which was set up in 2010, showed how transformative such a project can be. The unit led to the 2011 launch of a legal services centre in Belfast. That efficiency project, which focused on client-related issues, was run by former New York chief operating officer (COO) Gill Smith.
Clifford Chance’s programme has a broad focus: anyone can suggest a process to improve, with 40-50 projects currently running covering both legal and business processes. Staff were approached in January and given the opportunity to make suggestions. They came back with more than 100 ideas, with the organisers set to pick the top three to focus on imminently.
“Being at the forefront of legal process efficiency is yet another demonstration of our credentials as a firm at the cutting edge of thought leadership,” said global COO Amanda Burton.
The programme covers everything from billing to M&A to induction schemes. But the fruits of the project have been clear in areas where efficiency has traditionally been lacking. It brought in a largely electronic process for producing ’bound volumes’ (post-deal document bundles) that reduce costs by up to 60 per cent and the time it takes to send them to transaction parties by up to 80 per cent.
It also cuts an estimated 40 per cent off the time spent producing and reviewing documents for litigation and regulatory enquiries, partly with a ’statistical sample size calculator’ to work out the average number of documents teams should check for quality assurance.
Whether it will result in anything more radical is yet to be seen.