Project management has long been used by different businesses to earn more profits through efficiency and predictability. How law firm can protect profits with the use of project management and their client can benefit from improvement in predictability of budgets and schedules in fix fee arrangement as well as in billable hour matter. This is an emerging field for project management.
Even I have worked as lawyer in law firm and I understand the difficulty of applying such tools in in legal field where almost each case, client, opponents and their clients are different.
But when I worked as a in-house legal officer, corporate client demands and expects definite answers and timeline from lawyers and they hate unpredictability specially when legal matter is critical for business future and there I understood the importance of systematic and disciplinary approach. for legal matters , It is always assumed as time taking process and final lawyer’s bill as surprised. http://www.mmmlaw.com/assets/files/article_318.pdf in this article, Author has mentioned very interesting thing that the “Lawyers are accidental Project Manager” as every legal engagement is a project with a fixed goal and limited duration but lawyers rarely embrace their role as a project manager and most lawyers embrace their responsibility to get a good legal result for their client but that is where interest ends. the process is a necessary evil to achieving substantial results. achievement will feel far less if it is not completed timely.
Nine steps can be followed to solve common problems problems by legal project management
1.Set objectives and Define scope
2.Identify and scheduled activities- Break the matter down in smaller task, that can be better budgeted ,scheduled, staffed and managed.
3.Assign task and manage the team
4.Budget guesstimating-Estimating and controlling cost with careful tracking,constant communication and early adjustment on task level
5.Alternative plans before problem occurs.
6. Managing and maintaining quality
7. Manage client communication- it is important to understand clients expectations and meet those objectives.As the project progresses circumstances change so need to report progress to them member and stakeholders.
8. Time-line,possibly in the form of Gant chart, which identifies projected timing of the task and interdependence among the task.
9.Negotiate change orders and be careful with scope-creep.
There is ERM Legal solution legal industry focused project- management Applications serves as a work space for matter and project managers during the scoping, planning budgeting and execution phase of the matter.
These skills are specially very much in demand therefore now days there is Law-MBA hybrid course offered and there are various position in fortune 500 companies as Legal Project Manager
As per one of the referred article “A recent American Lawyer Media Legal Intelligence survey found that firms that use legal project management report more productive client relationships, improved communication, greater cost predictability, and other benefits.”
There is lot of potential to use, develop PM tools to improve efficiency of the legal matter and disputes