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

This two-part series was written by LegalBizDev Principal Steve Barrett , former CMO at Drinker Biddle. You've decided that your firm needs to assess the need for or embark upon instituting project management as an efficiency improvement and margin protection discipline (see part one from last...

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'...

Legal project management (Part 13): Getting the “Statement of Work” right

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 their work more efficiently and to assure that clients...

Overcoming resistance to change (Part 2): Short-term wins

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: in many of the firms that we talk to these...

Legal project management (Part 15): The power of sharing

This post was written by Steve Barrett and Jim Hassett . Any lawyer who has ever had a mentor knows how valuable it is to have access to information about what has worked in the past, and what hasn't. But lawyers are busy, and sharing is not their long suit. Knowledge is often passed on haphazardly...

Legal Project Management (Part 16): Work breakdown structures

If you've read about our "just in time, just enough" approach to training , you know that I am not a fan of teaching project management concepts and terminology in the abstract. Instead, we prefer a "jump right in" approach, in which we coach each individual lawyer to find the...

The first program to certify legal project managers

About 36 hours ago, we announced the first formal certification program for legal project managers in a press release on Business Wire . Our announcement has already generated some buzz. It was picked up by Forbes.com and discussed by Paul Easton in the Legal Project Management blog. I was also interviewed...

Questions and Answers about Certified Legal Project Managers (Part 1)

The day after we published our press release announcing the first certification program for legal project managers , I got an email from Paul Easton , author of the influential blog Legal Project Management , with a long list of interesting and insightful questions about our program. Indeed, the list...

Legal Project Management (Part 17): Warning signs

This post was written by LegalBizDev Principal Steve Barrett . In an hourly billing environment, few incentives exist to be alert for warning signs of threats to matter schedules or costs. More than a generation of lawyers has practiced without the pressures of creating and tracking budgets. With...

Questions and answers about Certified Legal Project Managers (Part 2 of 3)

A few weeks ago, I posted the first answers to a series of questions Paul Easton had asked when we announced our new certification program. I postponed the next installment until today, when the first group begins the certification process. Paul's question: You designed this program in response...

Questions and answers about Certified Legal Project Managers (Part 3 of 3)

This post concludes my answers to the questions from Paul Easton , author of the Legal Project Management blog . For an update on the certification program’s status , see today’s press release on BusinessWire . Paul’s question: I find it interesting that the program is customized...

Project management vs. process improvement vs. Six Sigma vs. Lean (Part 1 of 2)

A few weeks ago, the Director of Professional Development and Recruitment at an AmLaw 100 firm asked me to clarify the differences between project management, process improvement, Six Sigma, and Lean. This was a very sophisticated client who had been researching this area for months, but she had heard...

Project management vs. process improvement vs. Six Sigma vs. Lean (Part 2 of 2)

Although there are many approaches to process improvement, Six Sigma and Lean are far more familiar to lawyers than any of the alternatives, as a result of Seyfarth Shaw's highly publicized success in applying them. Over the last two years, I've written several posts about Seyfarth's innovative...

Six steps to better budgets (Part 1 of 2)

Step 1: Define scope You can't estimate costs until you know exactly what you are budgeting for, so the budgeting process must always begin by defining the scope of a matter . The best statements of scope simply summarize the project objective, the deliverables you will provide, and the "carve...

Six steps to better budgets (Part 2 of 2)

Step 4: Look for ways to lower costs In the current competitive environment, if your budget perfectly reflects past history, it may not be low enough to win the work. For many years, there was little pressure on lawyers to lower costs or to work more efficiently. Then the economy headed south, and...

Why the project management literature can be confusing

The participants in our new Certified Legal Project Manager TM program are analyzing how to apply best practices from other professions to their individual practices. In the first part of the program, they read key selections from six widely used reference books (including my Legal Project Management...

Time management

The simplest way to increase productivity is to manage your time better. While many time management techniques sound like common sense, that does not mean they are easy to implement. Start by identifying troublesome areas: How often are you interrupted? How do you manage disruptions? Can...

How to train lawyers in project management

Training professionals often talk about the importance of distinguishing between two types of goals: education and behavior change. Of course, almost every training program aims at both. But clients get the greatest return on their training investment when they think carefully about the tradeoffs between...