Legal Business

Recent Posts

“Plans Are Useless, But Planning Is Indispensable”
Posted on 3 Nov 2010 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

Overcoming resistance to change (Part 2): Short-term wins
Posted on 11 Aug 2010 by Jim Hassett

Last week I wrote about a simple strategy to promote change: find the feeling. Sounds great in theory, but exactly how do you do that? Of course the answer will depend on your firm's culture and on the change you are promoting. Here's one example... Read More

Legal Spending Is Down, Opportunities and Project Management Will Rise
Posted on 22 Oct 2010 by Tom Kane

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... Read More

On Adam Smith Esq. and “Good Enough”
Posted on 5 May 2010 by Steven B. Levy

A recent Adam Smith, Esq. column raises the critical question around "good enough" cost-limited legal work : What happens when something goes wrong? He titles it The Coming Debate Over Defining "Quality." I think it's a debate... Read More

Real. Simple. Google. Not.
Posted on 27 Jul 2010 by Steven B. Levy

I'm delivering a private session tomorrow on Legal Project Management. I saw an article this evening - it's evening where I am right now - that ties right in. One of the topics I almost always cover is the importance of vision. Not vision statements... Read More

LPM Case Study: Fasken Martineau’s bottom-up approach
Posted on 27 Jul 2011 by Jim Hassett

A few weeks ago, I gave a presentation at the Toronto office of Fasken Martineau , a firm with over 675 lawyers in Canada, the United Kingdom, France and South Africa. The topic was Legal Project Management (LPM): What law firms are doing today, and... Read More

Landon Donovan and Legal Project Management
Posted on 28 Jun 2010 by Steven B. Levy

What does Landon Donovan have to do with Legal Project Management? (Donovan is the guy who scored the dramatic last-minute goal that put the US into the next round of the World Cup this morning.) If you're at all a soccer fan, you've seen... Read More

Project Management and Technology
Posted on 16 Feb 2011 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

Legal project management (Part 13): Getting the “Statement of Work” right
Posted on 3 Aug 2010 by Jim Hassett

This week's post was written by LegalBizDev Principal Mike Egnatchik , former Associate General Counsel at Xerox. Law firms are increasingly realizing that they must both adopt and adapt the principles of project management in order to perform... Read More

The ACC Value Index
Posted on 20 Jul 2011 by Jim Hassett

We live in an age when consumers rate everything from restaurants to toaster ovens and movies on Yelp , Trip Advisor , Netflix , and hundreds of other web sites. In this environment, is inevitable that law firms too would be rated online. In October... Read More

Web Roundup in re Legal Project Management
Posted on 9 Jul 2010 by Steven B. Levy

Every morning, somewhere between working out (physical health) and getting to work (fiscal health), I do a wide-ranging scan of what's in the news and on the web (mental health). A few more items than usual this morning relate to areas I focus on... Read More

Specifications Failure!
Posted on 5 Oct 2011 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

The E Words: Effectiveness and Efficiency
Posted on 13 Sep 2010 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

Legal project management (Part 12): What Canadian firms are doing
Posted on 23 Jun 2010 by Jim Hassett

Last week we offered a project management webinar workshop at Clark Wilson , one of the leading law firms in British Columbia. The next day, a colleague asked me how Canadian legal project management differs from the US. My answer: it doesn't. ... Read More

Identifying Good LPM Trainers
Posted on 26 Aug 2010 by Steven B. Levy

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... Read More

  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: What every lawyer needs to know about project management, Part 4 of 5

    If we lived in a perfect world with unlimited resources, no one would need project managers. But here on Earth, resources are limited and managers are constantly forced to make difficult choices. For example, when computer programmers develop a new product, no matter how good the product may be, someone...
  • Blog Post: Turning on the Light of Legal Project Management

    Paul Easton has a good post recently where he talks about the possibility of Legal Project Management as a panacea . (That's the term in his title, and I think there's just a bit of tongue-in-cheek there.) As much as I think Legal Project Management can make a huge positive difference in the...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Legal Project Management (Part 7): Training

    All of a sudden, legal project management training is hot. Whether you want a one-hour webinar, a three-day workshop, or anything in between, someone has just the course for you. What a difference six months makes. Last November, Paul Lippe posted this query on Legal Onramp : "I am at a Law...
  • Blog Post: On Adam Smith Esq. and “Good Enough”

    A recent Adam Smith, Esq. column raises the critical question around "good enough" cost-limited legal work : What happens when something goes wrong? He titles it The Coming Debate Over Defining "Quality." I think it's a debate the industry needs to have, and isn't having...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Getting a Jump on the Ball

    About 30 years ago, I played softball against the cast of Children of a Lesser God . (This is a shaggy-dog story of sorts, though it's true. It does have a point. I'll get there.) It was in the Broadway Show League, a mixed-gender slow-pitch friendly league that played at fields in New...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: How Project Management Can Help Your Marketing

    Patrick Lamb has this week a post about project managemen t on his In Search of Perfect Client Service blog. Specifically, he comments on the Legal Project Management Quick Reference Guide written by my colleague Jim Hassett of LegalBizDev . Pat reviewed a copy of the guide and endorses not only the...
  • Blog Post: Legal Project Management (Part 9): Getting Away from Perfectionism

    When Voltaire wrote the phrase "Better is the enemy of good" in the late eighteenth century, he was not thinking about the needs of legal clients. But the phrase is extremely relevant to the challenges lawyers face today as they adapt to what Paul Lippe has called "the new normal."...
  • Blog Post: Taking the Right Line to the Ball

    How does an outfielder catch a fly ball? He - or she - runs to the place where the ball will be when it re-approaches the earth. How do successful project managers stay atop their projects? The same way. (I promise I'll lay off the baseball metaphors for a bit after this article.) Over the...
  • Blog Post: Legal project management (Part 11): End of matter evaluations

    Communication is absolutely essential in project management, and systematically debriefing clients at the end of every matter is more important than ever before. Indeed, the ACC Value Challenge Briefing Package suggests that clients should take the initiative on this and "Conduct 'after action'...
  • Blog Post: It’s News When a Law Firm Says It!

    It's not news when a GC says it. Mark Chandler (Cisco) and Jeff Carr (FMC) have been saying it for a long time. It's not news when a vendor says it. Paul Lippe (Legal OnRamp) and Ron Friedman (Integreon) have been saying it for a long time. It's not news when a consultant or author...
  • Blog Post: How Can You Build a Budget Before You Know the Work Involved?

    One of the most common questions I'm asked is the one that heads this article: How can you build a budget before you fully understand the work involved? Issues are similar whether you're aiming to present a fixed-fee estimate to a client or figuring out for your own practice how you'll...
  • Blog Post: Legal project management (Part 12): What Canadian firms are doing

    Last week we offered a project management webinar workshop at Clark Wilson , one of the leading law firms in British Columbia. The next day, a colleague asked me how Canadian legal project management differs from the US. My answer: it doesn't. True, when we customized their edition of the Legal...
  • Blog Post: Landon Donovan and Legal Project Management

    What does Landon Donovan have to do with Legal Project Management? (Donovan is the guy who scored the dramatic last-minute goal that put the US into the next round of the World Cup this morning.) If you're at all a soccer fan, you've seen the goal by now. Donovan gets the terrific throw...
  • Blog Post: 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...