copyright © 2020 by Aileen Leventon

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Legal Project Management is the way effective lawyers work, but in a more systematic and well-articulated way. It provides a vocabulary and mind-set that promotes a deeper understanding of how to execute the legal strategy to achieve a client’s business objectives. Valuable by-products include (i) the reduction or elimination of surprises among members of the legal team and the client, (ii) improved profitability and cost predictability, (iii) better risk management and client satisfaction, (iv) more successful business development efforts, (v) professional development, and (vi) better communication

The impact of legal project management has been recognized by all segments of the profession, ranging from the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium in 2017, the Association of Corporate Counsel in 2010 and the American Bar Association's various committees and task forces that were first launched in 2012. We have contributed to all these efforts. We look at LPM holistically since we understand the views of the client, the in-house counsel and the law firm. Law firms appreciate our knowledge of the client's perspective. Clients value our understanding of the drivers of law firm performance.

We focus on the relevance of project management in all practices – from litigation to regulatory to transactional – and for lawyers at all levels. We promote attorney engagement in the management of matters in addition to providing top-tier legal services. The result is that lawyers have a better appreciation of how to delegate and supervise work at the right level, use technology tools appropriately, and collaborate with others. We specialize in working with client teams on actual matters while they are in progress – either coaching the firm’s lawyers or with a joint effort with a client. We also conduct after-action reviews to deliver actionable feedback and to develop templates and protocols for working more effectively on the next matter. 

 

However tempting it may be to resist formal planning by saying "it depends," in fact, understanding the unknowns and dependencies are part of successful project management. By articulating assumptions and contingencies throughout the matter, we are able to develop roadmaps through uncertainty into clearer paths. Reviewing how the work is being done as part of monitoring the progress of the matter (or after it has been completed) produces better results: more effective law practice, enhanced client satisfaction and better outcomes. 

In addition to hands-on training, we show lawyers how to use skills that they already have to develop practical plans, budgets and communication programs. We have used this experience to develop the a course on budgeting and pricing value-based fees for the NYU Advanced Diploma in Legal Project Management.

 

We proudly model project management practices in all our engagements with large and small firms and in-house, legal business operations, global professional services, and with other management consultants to the legal industry. 

Legal Project Management

A thoughtful approach to improving client service and fee structures through more effective communication.
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