How Should Law Firms “Gear Up” to Manage Projects Better? – A 50,000-foot View (Part 1 of 2)

This two-part series was written by LegalBizDev Principal Steve Barrett , former CMO at Drinker Biddle. It is based on an article that will appear in Of Counsel: The Legal Practice and Management Report. Approaching the second anniversary of the September financial markets collapse, let's look...

Why project management is becoming increasingly important to law firms

This week's post comes from the preface to my new book . The preface starts by explaining how to use the book's tools and templates to improve profitability and client service, then transitions to the material below, explaining why project management is becoming a critical component of many firms'...

Are Clients 'Demanding' Change?

Adam Smith, Esq. has an excellent piece this morning , based on a Legal OnRamp thread, questioning whether corporate clients are actually demanding the changes so many of us are talking about, from alternative fees/value-based billing to legal project management. Are clients really asking for efficiency...

Engagement letters vs. statements of work

This post was written by LegalBizDev Principals Mike Egnatchik , Tom Kane , and Jim Hassett . At the beginning of a new matter, lawyers often specify its scope and fees in an engagement letter. The engagement letter is designed to clarify exactly what is included, and excluded, from a particular...

Who was the first to certify legal project managers?

There's been some controversy lately about who was the first to offer certification in legal project management. There does not seem to be any dispute about the facts. Last November, when we announced the start of our demanding Certified Legal Project Manager TM program, we called it "the...

New legal project management book published today

The material below is an excerpt from the second edition of my Legal Project Management Quick Reference Guide , which is now available. Copies have already been shipped to purchasers from firms with a total of over 16,000 lawyers, who pre-ordered the book after the initial announcement in this blog...

Legal project management: Fundamental shift or flavor of the month?

Last month, the Canadian magazine Lexpert ran an article about legal project management that began by describing two partners at Stewart McKelvey who participated in our Certified Legal Project Manager TM program . The article went on to discuss other project management initiatives at such firms...

What’s different about LEGAL project management?

A few weeks ago, Three Geeks and a Law Blog ran a post entitled "Is it 'legal' project management or just project management? ," which included very interesting comments by a who's who of thought leaders in the field, including Pam Woldow , Tim Corcoran , Steven Levy , Toby...

Book review: Project management for lawyers

Buy this book. (Right after you buy mine .) Project Management for Lawyers was written by two experts in this emerging field: Barbara Boake , a senior partner at McCarthy Tetrault , and Rick Kathuria, a certified Project Management Professional at the same firm. The book draws on their experience...

An introduction to legal project management (Part 3 of 3)

This series of posts is a slightly extended version of an article that appeared in the July 2011 issue of Managing Partner magazine . To download a PDF of the published version of my article, click here. Firms that are looking for more affordable solutions sometimes start by focusing on the...

Pricing (Part 1 of 6): What lawyers need to know and why

Some law firms are going to large companies and offering to do all their legal work for one fixed price, but the firms don't know how it will work out in the long run. I suspect in some cases it will come out really ugly. This prediction was made in 2009, by a senior partner from an AmLaw...

Pricing (Part 2 of 6): The cost-plus approach

A few weeks ago, when I gave a speech at the retreat of a 1,000 lawyer firm, a senior partner asked: "In your experience, how do large firms determine costs?" I replied: "Mostly, they don't. Until recently, most firms were making so much money they didn't need to precisely...