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An introduction to legal project management (Part 2 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 . Problems like the ones described last week could be reduced or eliminated by focusing on...

How Dumb Is the Pointy-Haired Boss?

Scott Adams and Dilbert regularly ridicule management, usually represented by the pointy-haired boss, or PHB. Over the many years Adams has been drawing the strip, he's certainly found plenty of targets for ridicule. Many of them have struck home with workers and bosses alike. I thought...

Legal Project Management by another Name

Jay Shepard has an interesting post today at Above the Law where he talks about the need for partners to teach associates to be future partners . He lists seven things a teaching partner should do to strengthen the firm for the future: Be consistent. Share the whole picture. Provide...

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...

How to manage budget risks – The example of enforcing a non-compete

This guest post was written by Richard Rosenblatt , a partner in Morgan Lewis's Labor and Employment Practice. It is an edited version of an essay he wrote as a participant in our Certified Legal Project Manager TM program . When we represent clients seeking to enforce non-competes, there are...

Specifications Failure!

Here's a picture of the field from Sunday's Jaguars-Saints football game, from NFL.com: Look at the directional arrows painted on the field next to the yard markers. Compare the arrow on the 10-yard line at the top of the picture with that at the bottom. (They're supposed to point...

Can Project Managers Win by Being Annoying?

Some project managers lead successful projects by working well with the members of their team, their business partners/clients, and so on. Actually, most successful project managers are successful because they know how to work with people. Sometimes, in difficult situations and get-us-out-of-this...

Everyone’s Trying to Get in on the Act

I saw an ad today for a university-sponsored legal project management 1 course for in-house counsel. I checked out the instructors, figuring that a reputable university would of course engage one of the specialists in this area. In this case I assumed it would be one of my colleague-competitors...

Steve Jobs, Teamwork, and Legal Project Management

Jonah Lehrer writes in Wired and The New Yorker about Steve Jobs using architecture to inculcate teamwork when he took over Pixar. He insisted that Pixar's headquarters be designed so that disparate groups of employees were forced to come together for certain functions. He insisted on a large...

Has the Hourly Billing Model Become An AFA?

In a telephone conference earlier today with a client talking about legal project management and alternative fee arrangements, I was struck by a statement by one of the partners on the call. Although he recognized clearly that AFAs, especially fixed fee matters, makes project management more urgent...

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...

Can Lawyers Learn From Best Buy?

Larry Downes in Forbes has an article on the decline and (they presume) fall of Best Buy . Other than the hagiography of Amazon.com, 1 there are some very interesting points in the article. Before you read it, though, consider what you think intuitively is Amazon's core advantage over Best Buy...

Can Lawyers Learn From Best Buy?

Larry Downes in Forbes has an article on the decline and (they presume) fall of Best Buy . Other than the hagiography of Amazon.com, 1 there are some very interesting points in the article. Before you read it, though, consider what you think intuitively is Amazon's core advantage over Best Buy...

“Data Driven”: In a Car, Is the Driver a Bug… or a Feature?

Driver: Bug or Feature? "The fact that you're still driving is a bug," [Google's Anthony] Levandowski says, "not a feature." I'm sure there'll be the inevitable responses about computer crashes vs. auto crashes, but Levandowski has a point. Read the sentence...