Legal Project Management: “Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan”

What does the term Legal Project Management mean for corporate legal departments and law firms and why is it so important? In the fast paced life that legal departments are forced to deal with on a daily basis, attorneys’ schedules can get hectic. That’s where the essence of legal project management steps in as the perfect solution to apply a working plan to your day! Project management, whether in practice, or in concept, has long been associated with the traditional business world.  In a highly competitive fixed-fee legal environment, Legal Project Management is becoming the “new normal.”

SMART Project PlanningLegal Project Management is a form of discipline used to help plan, organize, and execute projects efficiently and successfully. The purpose is to increase predictability of costs, time, and quality by deploying resources in the most efficient manner possible. Thanks to this system, managers can make consistent and informed judgments that lead to successful and organized results. Project Management techniques play a crucial role in facilitating clear communication between lawyers and their clients or other business units, so when lawyers gain more experience in Project Management techniques, they will be able to increase predictability and transparency in their matters and builds a marketable skill that many clients are looking for today!.

What does Project Management require?

  • defining and maintaining the scope of the legal project;
  • identifying necessary resources;
  • estimating cost, time, and effort to complete the legal project;
  • creating and defining channels of communication, anticipating potential risks, and ways to mitigate those risks;
  • analyzing data as it becomes available, and measuring progress against pre-set targets.

Project Management may be used for a wide range of projects from mergers & acquisitions to a patent matter. It is a framework that allows lawyers to provide more reliable estimates, better matter management, and improved matter profitability. Legal Project Management is also a functional process that is responsive to the growing needs and demands of the legal profession. Legal Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques tailored to meet the specific requirements of a legal matter. This area too relies on intelligent planning and continued evaluation throughout the project’s lifecycle.

Given the rapid technological advances within the legal profession, the measurement and adaptability of these plans makes for more visible management. Understanding the fundamentals of Legal Project Management will provide advantages to your corporate legal  department or law firm’s clients by better utilizing all the resources available to “plan your work and work your plan.” Following this example, we will outline how corporate legal departments and law firms work together to formulate a successful legal project plan. In the rest of our blog series we will cover different aspects of legal project management to help you better understand and implement the concept. The individual components are listed as bullet points below that will be covered in separate blogs.

  1. Plan and define the scope of the legal project:
    Defining the plan up front is the key to building long-term, successful, and repeatable successful outcomes.
  2. Identifying necessary resources:
    Getting all resources aligned early sets the stage for Process Automation to introduce best practices without long lead times for ROI.
  3. Estimate cost, time, and effort to complete the project:
    Constantly monitor and adjust estimates to meet changing project requirements.
  4. Create & define communication channels, anticipate and mitigate risks:
    Collaboration pays off by having all parties and data on one shared platform.
  5. Analyze data and measure overall progress:
    Use the data to demonstrate added value to entire business by delivering insights into overall strategy and planning.

Look for the entire series to help define the essentials of a successful Legal Project Management action plan. As the components are applied through your own plan, your organization will reap the benefits of a stronger process with repeatable outcomes. Be sure to add our blog to your feed so you’ll know exactly when the next installment is ready for you. You can also request us to let you know via email by filling out your request on our Contact Us page.