Legal Business

Recent Posts

Goodbye, Jack LaLanne
Posted on 24 Jan 2011 by Steven B. Levy

Jack LaLanne died today at the age of 96. What I found most interesting about Jack LaLanne was that he said he hated exercising. He made no bones about it; he didn't enjoy it. But he did it because the benefits were well worth the costs. ... Read More

A Lesson in Leadership from Aon’s Litigation Counsel
Posted on 8 Nov 2011 by Steven B. Levy

Mark Herrmann, Chief Litigation Counsel for Aon, writes about his first 360 review here . A 360 review is common in many corporations for mid-level and senior managers. An HR consultant (usually) helps you map your self-assessed strengths and weaknesses... Read More

Are Clients 'Demanding' Change?
Posted on 8 Sep 2010 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

Legal Project Management by another Name
Posted on 8 Sep 2011 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

Watson Takes on E-Discovery
Posted on 9 Mar 2011 by Steven B. Levy

By now you've likely seen the NY Times article about computers and e-discovery . For folks in the legal field, the content of the article isn't news, I trust: Computer analysis is making huge inroads in e-discovery and is in many cases replacing... Read More

Pam, Jim, Steve, and GrizzlyBear
Posted on 10 Nov 2010 by Steven B. Levy

Yesterday the three leading voices in Legal Project Management training had a mini-summit. The Center for Competitive Management invited Jim Hassett, Pam Woldow, and me to speak for an hour on Legal Project Management for law firms: the 50,000-foot... Read More

Outsourcing: Bad Word or Wrong Word?
Posted on 9 Mar 2011 by Steven B. Levy

(Note: Today's article is a bit off my usual Legal Project Management beat.) Ron Friedmann this morning presents an interesting way to look at outsourcing . His most striking point, I think, is this: Every law firm employee, in fact, works... Read More

What Does a Survey of Programming Languages Have to Do With Legal Project Management?
Posted on 22 Dec 2010 by Steven B. Levy

eWeek, an IT weekly, just released a survey of the most sought after (paid jobs) computer programming languages. I was both surprised and intrigued to find that the top three were Java, C, and C++. They have three things in common, one of which... Read More

“What Has to Be Accomplished”
Posted on 8 Nov 2010 by Steven B. Levy

This is the fifth in a week-long series of articles about plans and planning, collected as Planning Week. The U.S. military (and various other armed forces) has the concept of Commander's Intent. Any (battle) plan needs to be accompanied by the... Read More

Everyone’s Trying to Get in on the Act
Posted on 10 Oct 2011 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

Can Project Managers Win by Being Annoying?
Posted on 5 Oct 2011 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

Working Hard or Hardly Working?
Posted on 23 Mar 2011 by Steven B. Levy

The city/county/state is doing a major rebuild of the streets leading to the Interstate exit closest to my house in Seattle. My office is in my home, and when I travel I take another road to the airport, so I get to see the road construction once every... Read More

In Two Words: Project Management
Posted on 5 Oct 2010 by Steven B. Levy

Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn (the G in MGM) once responded to a suggestion: "In two words: im possible." 1 I can describe project management in two words. Too many people, including project managers, think they can describe it in one. ... Read More

“No Battle Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy”
Posted on 3 Nov 2010 by Steven B. Levy

First up in Planning Week is German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke. "No battle plan," he sagely noted, "survives contact with the enemy." When your plan meets the real world, the real world wins. Nothing goes as planned... Read More

Learning From the Way Ford Learns
Posted on 13 Oct 2010 by Steven B. Levy

Today's NY Times describes how Ford's designers went "back to the drawing board" to tune the controls on their new cars. They didn't use drawing boards. That was the first big step. They used video games and paper mock-ups and... Read More

  • Blog Post: Identifying Good LPM Trainers

    A client asked recently, "How would you determine whether someone's a good trainer in this field [Legal Project Management]?" I came up with a brief list of traits to look for - requirements, in a sense: Passion for the subject : A passion for the topic, as well as an ongoing commitment...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: The E Words: Effectiveness and Efficiency

    The Three Geeks and a Law Blog guys (I think it's Tony Brown writing) have an interesting post on the limits of efficiency . It leads me to ask (rhetorically), What's the difference between effectiveness and efficiency? You know the old saw about "doing the right thing" v. "doing...
  • Blog Post: Teaching Legal Project Management in Public

    Most of the training I do is for individual firms and departments. Thus it's not open to outside attendees. Occasionally, I teach what's called a Master Class. I have a public Master Class next Tuesday in Chicago for which I believe a couple of seats remain available. Patrick J. Lamb, litigator...
  • Blog Post: Artifacts: The Map Is Not the Terrain

    I've hear a lot about artifacts in the past two days. I saw an interesting list of questions about Legal Project Management from a firm partner. We discussed artifacts more than I anticipated in my most recent Master Class. And I responded to a blog post today that was nosing around them. An...
  • Blog Post: In Two Words: Project Management

    Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn (the G in MGM) once responded to a suggestion: "In two words: im possible." 1 I can describe project management in two words. Too many people, including project managers, think they can describe it in one. My two words: Project. Management. Project management...
  • Blog Post: Learning From the Way Ford Learns

    Today's NY Times describes how Ford's designers went "back to the drawing board" to tune the controls on their new cars. They didn't use drawing boards. That was the first big step. They used video games and paper mock-ups and modeling clay. There are some valuable lessons...
  • Blog Post: 60 Tips in 60 Minutes?

    Ron Friedmann recently posted 60 Tips in 60 Minutes from the 2010 Futures Conference about more efficient practice. If you're a regular here or at my classes, some of these will sound familiar, such as the following (with my comments below each): Let managers do their jobs. Partners need...
  • Blog Post: Certification

    There are some recent posts going around about certifying project managers, particularly one from the always interesting Paul Easton. I continue to be the contrarian in this debate, based on almost two decades of working with other professional project managers in "soft-constraint" fields...
  • Blog Post: “No Battle Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy”

    First up in Planning Week is German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke. "No battle plan," he sagely noted, "survives contact with the enemy." When your plan meets the real world, the real world wins. Nothing goes as planned. Errors pile up. Mistaken suppositions come back...
  • Blog Post: “Plans Are Useless, But Planning Is Indispensable”

    Yesterday I kicked off Planning Week with a quote from Helmuth von Moltke : "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy." That doesn't mean that you shouldn't plan, however. One of the greatest planners in history was the guy who laid out - and got right - the incredibly complex...
  • Blog Post: “What Has to Be Accomplished”

    This is the fifth in a week-long series of articles about plans and planning, collected as Planning Week. The U.S. military (and various other armed forces) has the concept of Commander's Intent. Any (battle) plan needs to be accompanied by the Commander's Intent, which is summed up by these...
  • Blog Post: Telling Stories

    Do you remember what football games on TV used to be like in the days before Roone Arledge, Howard Cosell and Monday Night Football? They were boring if you weren't a dyed-in-the-wool football fan, especially if the game wasn't close. Producer Roone Arledge and announcer Howard Cosell had...
  • Blog Post: Pam, Jim, Steve, and GrizzlyBear

    Yesterday the three leading voices in Legal Project Management training had a mini-summit. The Center for Competitive Management invited Jim Hassett, Pam Woldow, and me to speak for an hour on Legal Project Management for law firms: the 50,000-foot overview, some best practices, how to drive acceptance...
  • Blog Post: Can You “Demo” Project Management? An Introduction

    In a column I write that deals with business and people-management questions, I described a very effective demo where the demoer showed up his product without appearing to demo it at all. In response, someone from Planbox, a company that makes project management software , asked, "Do you plan...
  • Blog Post: Demoing a Project Management Tool: Part 1

    Yesterday I introduced a series of articles in which I'll address two questions: How would I demo project management tools to an audience of accidental project managers? Can you "demo" great project management itself? This article begins a short series responding to the first...
  • Blog Post: Productivity and Multiple Monitors

    My estimable colleague Rees Morrison this morning has a brief roundup of statistics regarding productivity and multiple monitors . Project management is tightly tied to productivity, which is why this subject matters so much to me. Multiple monitors are a boon - an enormous one - if and only if...
  • Blog Post: Three Inexpensive Productivity Boosters

    Happy December. Yesterday I wrote about multiple monitors, calling them the third-least-expensive productivity tool you can get for your team. I suspect that raises an obvious question. If multiple monitors are #3, what are #2 and #1? 3. Multiple Monitors (Under $150) Two weeks ago, I picked...
  • Blog Post: Should Clients Pay for Meetings

    Yesterday I noted in passing the client objection to paying for meetings . This is also a question that has come up repeatedly at recent training courses I've done. In all my years on the client side, I usually pushed against paying for meetings involving, say, three or more people. I'm very...
  • Blog Post: What Does a Survey of Programming Languages Have to Do With Legal Project Management?

    eWeek, an IT weekly, just released a survey of the most sought after (paid jobs) computer programming languages. I was both surprised and intrigued to find that the top three were Java, C, and C++. They have three things in common, one of which is a meaningful metaphor for LPM. The names...
  • Blog Post: Goodbye, Jack LaLanne

    Jack LaLanne died today at the age of 96. What I found most interesting about Jack LaLanne was that he said he hated exercising. He made no bones about it; he didn't enjoy it. But he did it because the benefits were well worth the costs. Legal Project Management and Jack LaLanne have something...
  • Blog Post: Project Management and Technology

    Yesterday I noted some highly successful large-scale projects that succeeded without the use of project management technology. I make this point - which I also make in my book Legal Project Management and my classes - because I continue to encounter people who believe there's a technology "solution"...
  • Blog Post: The Biggest Technology Boost in Legal Project Management

    This week, I've written a series of articles pointing out that Legal Project Management is not dependent on project-management technology. So what's the most important thing a project manager can do to improve her use of technology, to use technology better to manage legal projects? Actually...
  • Blog Post: When Projects Go Bad

    There is a wonderful old Gary Larson cartoon titled "When potato salad goes bad." It shows a bowl of potato salad in a refrigerator holding up various other foods at gunpoint. Projects don't go bad in quite the same way. But they smell as moldy as month-old potato salad when they do...
  • Blog Post: Outsourcing: Bad Word or Wrong Word?

    (Note: Today's article is a bit off my usual Legal Project Management beat.) Ron Friedmann this morning presents an interesting way to look at outsourcing . His most striking point, I think, is this: Every law firm employee, in fact, works for an outsourcing organization. In-house counsel...