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Legal Project Management - Where the rubber meets the road

Legal Project Management - Where the rubber meets the road

Ratings: (0)|Views: 12,290|Likes:
Published by Ryan McClead
Lawyers have been managing legal projects since the beginning of the profession, but recent changes in the market have highlighted the need for more rigorous management techniques. The first generation of Legal Project Management tools gave attorneys the ability to better plan and budget for projects, without giving them an easy way to monitor progress or adjust resources on the fly. The next generation of LPM tools will provide a more complete solution, by more closely aligning LPM with long standing general project management techniques.
Lawyers have been managing legal projects since the beginning of the profession, but recent changes in the market have highlighted the need for more rigorous management techniques. The first generation of Legal Project Management tools gave attorneys the ability to better plan and budget for projects, without giving them an easy way to monitor progress or adjust resources on the fly. The next generation of LPM tools will provide a more complete solution, by more closely aligning LPM with long standing general project management techniques.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Ryan McClead on Feb 23, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/18/2013

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Image [cc] – “Burning Rubber” –  Lori Hersberger 
 
Legal Project Management 
Where the rubber meets the road
2/19/2013
 
Scott Preston & Ryan McClead
 
Legal Project Management (LPM)provides a framework of accountability, transparency,predictability and ultimately lesscost. If you are interested in a moreconsistent, repeatable, andcontinually improving practice of law, LPM is for you.
 
 
 
Legal Project Management 
 
Where the rubber meets the road
Table of Contents
Legal Project Management, why now? 
.......................................................................................... 1
 
The Tipping Point 
............................................................................................................................ 2
 
Client Needs
................................................................................................................................ 2
 
Partner Concerns
......................................................................................................................... 3
 
Legal Project Management 1.0
....................................................................................................... 4
 
Legal Project Management 2.0
....................................................................................................... 6
 
Planning and Budgeting
.............................................................................................................. 6
 
Execution
..................................................................................................................................... 7
 
Monitoring and Controlling
........................................................................................................ 7
 
Conclusion
....................................................................................................................................... 9
 
 
Legal Project Management Page
1
Legal Project Management, why now? 
Project Management, which has been around since the 1950s, is defined on Wikipedia as “thediscipline of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources to achieve specificgoals”. Lawyers have been performing these functions as they relate to delivering legal servicessince the beginning of the profession. They plan matters, delegate responsibilities, mentor theirsubordinates, and ensure that each legal project is completed in a manner that will please theclient. A select few lawyers have used general-purpose project management software, such asMicrosoft Project, to manage their matters for years, but most project management in the legalsphere is still performed by instinct. Attorneys rely on their vast experience to guidemanagement decisions, which has always worked well. Or at least, has always worked "wellenough". Unfortunately, the hourly billing model actively rewards inefficiency. If it takes fifteenhours to complete a task that should have taken five, then the inefficient lawyer has just tripledrevenues. In such an environment even those attorneys that are inclined to actively managetheir projects have no incentive to improve their management techniques and the profession asa whole has no impetus to evolve.We may have continued indefinitely down this path with attorneys managing projects "by ear"and raising their rates ten percent annually, but the economic downturn in 2008 provided amuch needed wake up call to the industry. Over the previous decades many of our clients havebegun to implement quality assurance and efficiency measures like Six Sigma and LEANborrowed from manufacturing industries. When they began to feel the effects of the 2008downturn, they started to assess their service providers just as they had themselves. Theybegan to demand the same levels of quality, accountability, and efficiency from their legalservice providers in the name of controlling costs. Many law firms responded in the only waythey knew how: they discounted their services. They took a percentage off of their hourlyrates; they wrote off expenses that they had traditionally recharged to the clients; theypretended that the task that had taken them fifteen hours to complete had only taken themfive; they laid-off non-essential workers, then less-essential workers, and then, in some cases,attorneys. Five years later many firms still act as if the old way of doing things will return just assoon as the economy turns around. However, arecent report co-written by Citi Private Bank and Hildebrandt Consulting based on surveys conducted by Citibank and Thomson Reuters PeerMonitor states:
… it is time to let go of any lingering notion that the industry will revert to theboom years before the Great Recession anytime soon. With profit growth and other financial indices reaching lower setpoints in the past four years, weanticipate that the current state of the industry will remain the norm for the foreseeable future.

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