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An Interesting Point in Support of AFAs

Anthony Tijan's article in the Harvard Business Review about bundling services and goods goes on to make an intriguing point about Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs): "I remember receiving a legal bill that carefully showed the breakdown of all the expenses. As the buyer of these services...

Project Management, People Management

What's the relationship of project management and people management? The worst professional project managers I've worked with over the years were universally terrible people managers. Conversely, the best project managers were outstanding people managers. (Two clarifications: First, I'm...

Risky Business (So to Speak)

Control Costs. Meet Schedules. Manage Risks. Maintain Sanity. Those four phrases represent the subtitle of my book Legal Project Management ... and are also the four critical actions of a project manager. Most understand they need to do the first two, even if they're not always sure how. (Subliminal...

What every lawyer needs to know about project management, Part 1 of 5

This five-part series is an expanded version of an article I published last week on AmericanLawyer.com entitled "Teaching Lawyers How to Manage: Can It Improve the Bottom Line?" When I interviewed AmLaw 100 chairmen, senior partners and C-level executives for a recent survey of alternative...

What every lawyer needs to know about project management, Part 2 of 5

Is it possible to control the costs of legal matters? While some lawyers have been working on a fixed price basis for years, others still believe that fixed fees simply cannot be applied to complex legal matters. The cost of defending a suit may be very low if your opponent is willing to settle early...

Can Anyone Manage Projects?

The title of this article, Can Anyone Manage Projects, has two meanings. When I said it to a colleague about two years ago, we got our wires crossed for a minute because of the dual meanings. I asked, in effect - and rhetorically -"Do you have to be some sort of certified project manager to...

Measuring Success in the Corporate and Legal Worlds

Bruce MacEwan (Adam Smith, Esq.) asked a good question the other day : What is the one line item that appears on virtually every corporation's balance sheet but not a single law firm's? The answer: retained earnings. An upset - and I think inaccurate - post in Above the Law this morning...

Legal Project Management (Part 5): Six Sigma and Lean

When I started this series of posts, I thought it would have only five parts. However, a significant amount of new information has been published on this topic since I started the series a few weeks ago, so I will continue with several additional posts. When experts talk about increasing legal efficiency...

Legal Project Management (Part 6) – Budget problems and solutions

Many lawyers believe that it is simply not possible to predict the costs of complex legal matters. As the managing partner of a firm with more than 1,000 lawyers put it in The LegalBizDev Survey of Alternative Fees : [Some] litigators say [a fixed fee] just doesn't work at all, because who knows...

Legal Project Management (Part 8): McDermott’s Deal Dashboard

If you believe what's been written on the web lately, you'd think that the idea of applying project management principles to legal matters was brand new. In fact, however, some lawyers have been focused on these ideas for years, developing new tactics and tools, often under the radar. For...

A Radical Future For The Legal Industry?

Rory Webber, Martindale-Hubbell Connected's Marketing & Community Development Manager interviews legal journalist and MH Connected member, Richard Parnham. In today's difficult economy, many law firms are focusing on how to survive over the next few months. But good times will - hopefully...

Legal Spending Is Down, Opportunities and Project Management Will Rise

An article in Tuesday's ABA Journal online reports that legal departments cut spending for the first time in 10 years. This is based on the Hildebrandt Baker Robbins 2010 Law Department Survey. The results are significant because the 9 previous yearly surveys showed a 5% to 9% increase each year...

Six steps to better budgets (Part 2 of 2)

Step 4: Look for ways to lower costs In the current competitive environment, if your budget perfectly reflects past history, it may not be low enough to win the work. For many years, there was little pressure on lawyers to lower costs or to work more efficiently. Then the economy headed south, and...