In-House Seminars / Project Management for Lawyers
SO MANY PROJECTS, SO LITTLE TIME:
Legal Project Management
This seminar explains how lawyers who manage multi-person teams can use the basic principles of project management to organize, plan, and monitor the work of client matters. Project management is a organized, structured approach to the various steps necessary to manage any project effectively. These steps include defining what is to be achieved, breaking the project down into manageable phases, and scheduling tasks in logical sequences. This is how any complex project must be approached to stand the greatest chance of success. While all legal projects can benefit from the application of project management principles, this seminar focuses primarily on large, billable client matters such as cases and transactions.
Project management methods have been used extensively and successfully for years in corporations, consulting firms, and accounting firms, but are not yet widespread in the legal profession. Lawyers who pride themselves on extracting useful information from prior work product whenever possible to avoid "reinventing the wheel" are for the most part unaware of this body of knowledge, and therefore struggle to figure out for themselves how to go about managing large transactions or cases. This is an unnecessary expenditure of time and effort, for lawyers can greatly benefit from the expertise already fully developed in the field of project management. Lawyers can use project management techniques to improve client service, increase predictability, reduce costs, reduce time spans, and optimize results. Project management is also an excellent tool for managing client expectations by ensuring that you and your client are on the same page regarding the desired outcome, costs, timing, and scope at the outset of a matter, and by keeping your client informed and involved throughout the project. Project management can therefore help achieve every lawyer's ultimate goal in every billable matter: a satisfied client who pays the bill.
This seminar applies the project management body of knowledge to the practice of law, and covers the various functions a lawyer should perform in his or her role as a project manager for a given case or transaction. These functions are organized into the following six stages:
Stage #1: DEFINE THE PROJECT
A. Meet with client to clarify the client's goals and objectives.
B. Understanding the project's goals from the lawyer's perspective
Stage #2: PLAN THE PROJECT
A. Describe the project's purpose(s) and objective(s).
B. Describe the desired results.
C. Assess the feasibility of producing the desired results.
D. List all the work to be performed.
E. Describe the human resources and skills needed.
F. Prepare the project schedule.
G. Estimate the project's costs.
H. Assess the risks and how to manage them.
I. Describe how the project will be monitored.
J. State the procedure for modifying the project plan.
Stage #3: LAUNCH THE PROJECT
A. Choose the team members.
B. Meet with each team member individually.
C. Hold the kick-off team meeting.
D. Announce the project to the firm.
Stage #4: MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THE PROJECT
A. Keeping up-to-date on the status of work by team members.
B. Keeping up-to-date on the status of billables and expenses.
C. Progress reports.
D. Keeping your client informed.
Stage #5: EVALUATE THE PROJECT
A. End-of-project evaluation with client / project sponsor.
B. Lessons learned evaluation with project team and on your own.
C. Write the Lessons Learned report.
Stage #6: CLOSE OUT THE PROJECT
A. Finalize all project management documents.
B. Create generic versions of documents, forms, and checklists.
C. Refine your project management systems and procedures.
While it may seem that following all of these steps would make a project more complex, in fact the complexity is inherent in the project itself; using a project management approach merely displays that complexity in an organized fashion. Ironically, a clear portrayal of all aspects of a complex project tends to make the execution of the work itself proceed more smoothly.
This hands-on seminar can be customized to address projects specific to a particular type of legal practice, and, if desired, can include a continuing exercise in which each participant prepares a project plan for one of his or her current cases or transactions.
For more information about this program, please e-mail MegSpencerDixon@TimeManagementForLawyers.com.