Are you asking any of these questions?
- We are getting pressure to deliver cost-effective legal services at a fixed fee. What is the best way to do this?
- I am hearing a lot of buzz about legal project management. What is it exactly and why should we try it?
- We’re gearing up for an initiative and are unsure of how to proceed. Who can we get to help us?
If so, we can help you get started and succeed.
Project management is not new – it is just new to lawyers. Every other type of professional services firm uses some form of project management. It is now time for lawyers to embrace this essential skill.
Mastering Legal Project Management (LPM) will improve profitability and client satisfaction; reduce risks, costs, and errors; and help you deliver client objectives more predictably. Further, LPM is required if you want to profitably offer alternative fee arrangements and improve realization rates.
- Improve realization and profitability on matters.
- Increase client satisfaction and retention.
- Reduce costs, risks, and errors.
- Deliver client objectives more predictably.
- Reduce the learning curve for associates.
- Enhance knowledge management by developing templates, checklists, and issue logs.
- Learn from after-action reviews to capture ideas for improved client service, retention, and acquisition as well as effective teamwork.
- Develop cost models to support traditional and alternative pricing strategies, and fee structures.
We Transfer our LPM Skills to Your Team
For many of our services, it is not necessary for firms to develop the same level of proficiency as our coaches and consultants. LPM is different. It is important that your in-house team develop these vital skills. To that end, we build in “knowledge-transfer” throughout the project.
Our LPM Approach
Legal Project Management is a disciplined approach to the delivery of legal work that increases the odds of producing predictable client results, lower costs, and on time and on budget delivery. In short, better results, less costs, and happier clients.
We divide LPM into four phases. Each phase has unique procedures, techniques, and tools.
Implementing a LPM Pilot Project
If you are new to LPM, we suggest you begin with a pilot project serving just one client. This allows you to test and refine your new procedures, practices, and tools before rolling it out to the firm.
These are the steps that we typically take when implementing LPM at a firm:
- Assemble Project Team: The project team is responsible for successfully implementing LPM at the firm. The team includes key lawyers, staff, and the client relationship partner responsible for working with the initial client.
- Assemble Initial Client Team: The initial client team is responsible for conducting the legal work using the new LPM skills and procedures. Client teams should also include a representative of the client.
Conduct Research & Redesign Processes
- Determine Scope of Work with Initial Client: The client team determines which legal services will be included in the pilot project.
- Conduct Research. Using the initial client as a starting point, we determine the client’s financial and matter history, how the team delivers legal services to that client, and how well the client team works together. We are looking for bottlenecks and other hindrances of optimal performance. This information is summarized into a set of recommendations.
- Redesign Procedures. Based on the improvement recommendations, procedures and practices are redesigned.
- Conduct LPM Training. During this stage, the client team is trained in LPM best practices, processes, and tools.
Implement LPM with Initial Client
- Develop Work Plan and Timeline: The work plan includes details about the legal work to be done, the steps involved, and the people responsible for each task. The time line sets out the schedule, sequence of tasks, milestones, and dependencies, which serves as a crosscheck against the Work Plan and working assumptions reflected in the scoping phase. This is a “live” document and is updated as the action items are completed or changed, particularly at the beginning of a new stage of work (e.g., after making a motion for summary judgment in a litigation; at the start and completion of due diligence in a transaction).
- Produce Status Reports: These are templates and plans to ensure that the team members and the client stay informed, aligned, and aware of changed circumstances. These tools help team members stay on track and achieve the client’s goals — within the cost, time, and resource constraints.
- Client Communication Checklist: Effective communication is at the heart of successful LPM. Teams will establish communication protocols that cover: Who will communicate about what to whom? When will communication occur? (Weekly; quarterly; daily) How will communication take place? (E-mail, meetings, conference calls).
- Conduct Post-Matter Debrief: To identify what worked and what didn’t work, we conduct a post-matter debrief. Great benefits are derived from a well‐structured debrief that reflects on lessons learned and how they will be shared and integrated into future work.
- Write Closing Report: At the end of the project, the team writes a closing report to compare the goals of the project with the actual results; noting any discrepancies and remedial actions.