Lean Six Sigma Framework for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access

We are proposing the adoption of a DEIA roadmap under the framework of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) to tackle Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access challenges in the legal industry, whether you are in public or private practice. We mean this very literally as a discipline to govern, prioritize and tackle DEIA efforts.

When you use a Lean Six Sigma framework to tackle DEIA, you focus on fixing processes, not people. If you want to make impactful changes now, this is the way to do it.

Because what we have been doing thus far is not working. We have barely moved the needle in twenty plus years.

Because fixing perspectives and biases, which is at the core of most DEIA programs, is an exceptionally long and tough road.

Because we are humans shaped long before we become legal professionals and bias training is too often undertaken by well-intentioned professionals without the right behavioral science or psychology backgrounds in a multi-cultural setting with many other limitations.

Because a law firm or legal department setting will never provide the support for a true bias changing program. It is not a therapist office. There are around two hundred cognitive biases that interfere with how we process data and perceive reality.

Hence, we posit a novel approach: using a Lean Six Sigma framework to target one demographic, one problem, and one process, at a time.


At the define stage, we pick ONE demographic, then focus on ONE problem and ONE process. We call this the 1:1:1 rule.


Qualitatively and quantitatively, by obtaining the right data and talking to the right people. Using tools like VOC (Voice of Customer), process mapping, and the XY matrix to collect the necessary data. It is critical to obtain actionable data from organizations that will show us where we are now and measure how we make progress.


Conduct Root Cause analysis, use tools such as the 5Whys, Fishbone analysis, or Pareto charts. Fixing causal problems will not do. For long-lasting, impactful change, we must fix root causes.


The procedures, policies, standards, and tools we use to measure the success of the process we are trying to fix. Remember, we are fixing processes, not people.


It is not enough to initiate DEIA change; it must be maintained and continuously improved. For example, we implement systems around the 4 Ms of process control: