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72: Solving Real Law Department Problems with Dan Yi of the DOJ

Using Design Thinking with Dan Yi

Daniel Yi is Senior Counsel for Innovation, at the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division.  His work helps attorneys explore new approaches to persistent operational and mission-delivery challenges using innovation and creativity.   He also leads an incubator program called Concept Lab where legal professionals use design thinking and lean methodologies to make improvements.

Dan Yi on LinkedIn 

Dan has an intense curiosity and fascination for learning how smart people see and engage with the world.

Even with 11K attorneys, resource allocation at the DOJ requires on going effort.

Trial prep is stressful; there are lots of tasks, lots of terms, and time is limited.   Applying design thinking a Kanban board was used to outline workflows, and monitor progress including classic daily scrums.

A lawyer’s predisposition to identify risk and a cultural reaction to the risk of change multiplies the traditional product adoption curve.

Prior LeftFoot guest, Lucy Bassli of Microsoft – commented that change is about people, processes, and tools – in that order.

With outside vendors, you see the tool first.   The vendor may say it solves our problem but has the vendor taken the time to understand our problem? Can we test and evaluate whether it will solve the problem we intended to solve.

Problem framing, will they use it and can we maintain and improve it into the future.

Today we’re seeing a shift in the legal world to a people and client centric view. 

Dan and others are looking to create a legal system that is less complicated and does not require retaining a high-cost guide.

In-house legal counsel has been clearly communicating to outside counsel the need to present work product more in line with what they need in the way they will ultimately be using it.

We are living and working in a time of tremendous and rapid iteration.

This episode is sponsored by CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium):