Legal project management applies and adapts the business process of project management to the management of legal services. As more law firms adopt alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) over the standard hourly billing model, the management of time and expenses becomes increasingly more important to the law firm’s overall success.
Historically, the practice of law is not about efficiency, but rather research and ingenuity. Project management, a concept from the business world, breaks down the process of law into measurable, systematic goals, which may seem contrary to the creative thinking approach many lawyers take.
However, the legal clients of today expect accountability, communication, and transparency. By having a process in place for documenting and sharing information and expectations, law firms can not only maximize client satisfaction, but profits as well.
The formula for successful project management includes reviewing the objective of the project with clients, defining a system of communication, mapping specific actions required, creating a timeline or schedule with target dates, and scheduling meetings to update or revise the project scope.
A law firm can implement these strategies using legal project management software, LPM training or certification, or both, depending on the size of the firm and the needs of the clients.
Generally, the larger the law firm, the more beneficial it is to have at least one, if not several, project managers. Introducing and adapting this project management discipline within a law firm is a shift in how law firms have typically operated.
Project management introduces targeted goals and accountability in strategic ways geared towards not just maximum profits but client satisfaction. While this may be a difficult philosophical adjustment for some firms and lawyers, the practice is becoming more widely implemented. Legal project management is a new concept that is making its mark on how law is practice.
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