Thomas Jefferson allegedly once said “A lawyer without books would be like a workman without tools.” The traditional ways of working are still revered in law firms today. Who doesn’t love the smell of a legal library? But 200 years on from Jefferson, our world has changed and clients’ needs are different. We wonder if it’s now actually time for the lawyer, like the workman, to also embrace “tools” through Legal Project Management (LPM).
What is LPM?
LPM is the use of project management principles (including tools & techniques) to improve the delivery of legal services, ultimately enhancing the client experience. These techniques include defined matter lifecycles and processes that can be applied across matters of varying complexity including:
- Scoping & pricing – setting expectations and ensuring work is profitable.
- Planning & resourcing – understanding how and who will do the work and defining timelines.
- Matter reporting – tracking progress and providing updates to client, flagging changes.
- Reviews/lessons learned – reviewing matter outcomes and capturing data to learn from.
LPM was first talked about in 2009 and firms have begun to adopt these techniques over the last 12 years. Aaron Scott, Senior Legal Project Manager at Clifford Chance said “since 2016, the LPM function has been establishing methodologies, tools, templates and approaches to managing our project lifecycles, and our team will recommend approaches based on our experiences of managing over 300 of the largest and most complex legal projects in the market.”
Due to the pandemic, many firms have started to deconstruct their ways of working and consider that LPM needs to be a part of their future. This is particularly true because LPM is a growing area within the legal sector that is quickly becoming industry standard and something that is now expected by their clients.
What are the benefits of LPM?
LPM can improve the time it takes to start, deliver and close matters, to complete work faster for clients. You can introduce processes/tools that make it easier to complete repeatable tasks, reducing costs & improving service.
In today’s client savvy world, LPM is fast becoming a service expected by clients to demonstrate the efficient and effective management of matters. It can help provide a better client experience and meet changes in client demands.
Adopting LPM principles will help in standardising processes across teams. This means developing consistent ways of working and embedding your firm’s values across the organisation. These values should include a culture of continuous improvement within all areas of the firm, where knowledge and LPM best practice techniques are regularly shared.
Utilising specialised tools for tasks helps to improve cross-team working and reduce risks. Therefore you will be delivering a consistent experience for all your clients.
Using data and tools will improve the accuracy of your scoping and estimating, thus reducing the number of surprises for clients. You will improve your client reporting on estimates & progress.
Embracing lessons learned principles will provide great foresight for the next project, which will equip your clients with a more accurate picture of what to expect.
- Client Satisfaction
Efficiency, consistency and accuracy ultimately lead to better client satisfaction. Doing the job quicker, being transparent about progress and billing and having the right information at your fingertips, will help clients get more confidence and trust in the service you deliver. This leads to stronger client partnerships and onward work.
If you feel your firm would benefit from introducing LPM techniques, then we can help you to engage and build capability across your teams. We can equip you with the essential process and tools and help you to define your new look commercial proposition. You can improve your client experience through LPM, contact TiggyR@NineFeetTall.com for more details and a free consultation.