Legal Business

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:

  1. Be consistent.
  2. Share the whole picture.
  3. Provide client contact.
  4. Give the associate a chance to "think on his feet" where it matters.
  5. Teach legal writing.
  6. Discuss strategy (and listen; don't just expostulate).
  7. Teach rainmaking.

I think it's a great list. It also corresponds to the core tenets of Legal Project Management, with the possible exception of #7. Items 1-6 are traits of good project managers. They're consistent. They share the whole picture, especially client (and firm) goals, and they listen to everyone on the team. They make sure their absences are covered; e.g., the client should be comfortable with the lead associates. They develop their teams. (I suppose that could include rainmaking.)

Good project managers are leaders, and they invest in creating the future as well as succeeding in the present.

Shepard presents this list as a guide to smaller firms, but it could apply equally well to larger firms - and for that matter in many business areas, not just law. It's a good list.

Someday that associate, assuming she's good at her job, will likely be a partner, and you'll be building the firm together. Don't forget the future no matter how pressing the present.

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