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Category Archives: Legal Project Management

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Cutting Corners, Part IV: The Readers Speak

Posted in Legal Project Management

If one purpose of a blog is to provoke spirited debate, we surely succeeded in our recent posts on whether client-driven pressures for greater efficiency and cost control compel outside counsel to “cut corners” in legal service delivery.  Our premise that “an inevitable dog fight erupts whenever lawyers try to discuss quality and cost in… Continue Reading

Perfection Is the Enemy of Good – Cutting Corners, Part II

Posted in Legal Project Management

In this second of three related posts, we consider whether clients’ increasing efforts to control outside legal spend force their outside counsel to “cut corners.” Are firms being forced to compromise service quality and integrity in order to meet client price points?  Are Legal Project Management (LPM) and Legal Process Improvement (LPI), which are supposed… Continue Reading

Plugging Profitability Leaks: A Simple Tip for Great Delegation

Posted in Legal Project Management

UPDATE: This article won the BigLaw Pick of the Week award! We’ve long known that vague, incomplete or misunderstood instructions from partners to associates is a prime source of profitability leaks — revenue lost because of all the time spent on reinventing the wheel, because  of do-overs, and because of significant amounts of time written down or eventually… Continue Reading

Notes On The New Year – 2014

Posted in Legal Project Management

A young American follower of Shinryu Suzuki, the famed founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, was bewildered by the Master’s abstruse, fractured-English lectures. He finally asked Suzuki if he could summarize the essence of Zen Buddhism in a single paragraph. After pausing for thought, Suzuki smiled at his student.  “Everything changes,” he said. Welcome… Continue Reading

A Practical Slant on LPM Implementation

Posted in Legal Project Management

Guest Post by  Katie Crosby Lehmann, Partner Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi It’s little wonder that law firms struggle to integrate Legal Project Management (LPM) into their lawyers’ legal service delivery.  The firm’s LPM champions face a double bind: on one hand, many of the firm’s lawyers are skeptical independent thinkers who scoff at the… Continue Reading

Search for the Client with the Bottomless Wallet: Status Update

Posted in Legal Project Management

So far we’ve come up empty in our search for that mythical client with the bottomless budget, that easygoing “hey, no problemo!” sponsor who never contests the bill. Not a single client has appeared with checkbook and pen in hand, ready to write checks with numerous numbers before the decimal point without complaint. But there… Continue Reading

A Seat at the Legal Project Management Table

Posted in Legal Project Management

Sometimes one learns valuable lessons in really enjoyable ways, and such was the case  recently when we facilitated a Legal Project Management training workshop for the Energy, Environmental, Mining & Transportation practice group at Leonard Street & Deinard in Minneapolis (we reveal their identity here with their approval).  Edge has long suggested that LPM workshops… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management 101: Why Scoping Matters

Posted in Legal Project Management

Scenario (a true-life debacle, presented with altered identifying information) In November 2012, Steve, a Senior Vice President at Mega-Bank, hired outside counsel to handle what seemed like a routine corporate transaction.  The firm took on the matter and performed the legal work and documentation the Bank needed. In January 2013, at the closing table, Mega-Bank… Continue Reading

Top 5 Bad Excuses for Resisting Legal Project Management

Posted in Legal Project Management

  Before we sing the final Auld Lang Syne to 2012, we must insist on one last year-end wrap-up: a list of the reasons that otherwise rational lawyers trot out for resisting and denying reality, in this case reality being their clients’ escalating demands for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the delivery of legal services…. Continue Reading

Clearing the Technology Bar: Clients Demand Basic Skills

Posted in Legal Project Management

In today’s technology-driven business world, a lot of clients are worried that their outside counsel – and specifically the associate worker bees toiling on their matters — don’t possess the requisite technology savvy and skills to serve clients efficiently. In a competitive environment where clients often instruct firms not to assign first or second-year (and… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management 2.0: The Pressure to Perform and the Mandate to Deliver

Posted in Legal Project Management

          A hot-air balloonist becomes lost in the fog and eventually descends above a pasture where a man is standing.  “Where am I?” he calls down.           “You’re in a hot-air balloon about 60 feet above the ground,” says the man.           “You must be a lawyer,” the balloonist says, “because everything you say, while technically correct,… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management & Beyond: The Extraordinary Promise of “Collaboration Technology” (Part 3 of 3)

Posted in General Counsel, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools

Arguably the biggest change in the legal profession’s “New Normal” is the extent to which it demands and rewards collaboration to manage scale and complexity. Today’s client-driven demand for greater collaboration is leading us away from the days when rampant individualists thought that everything they did was unique but disconnected, and that every lawyer should… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management: Going for Broke and Turning Up the Heat

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

Heretofore, the burgeoning worldwide Legal Project Management (LPM) trend has shown what you see when the buyer turns up the heat.  It’s safe to say that if more and more clients were not demanding legal services that are on time, on budget, efficiently managed and predictably rendered, we’d still be back in the “good old… Continue Reading

Well, Isn’t That Predictable? Using Legal Project Management To Improve Client Satisfaction

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend

Whether you are planning to climb Mt. McKinley or to provide well-managed legal services to a key client, assaying the possible and probable changes to your plan is key to success. Recent headlines in Alaska told a tragic story about four climbers on Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America.  Because the weather had… Continue Reading

“Grubby Money” – Lawyers’ Reluctance to Talk About Fees

Posted in Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

It’s no secret – and no surprise – that in today’s competitive and cost-constrained legal landscape the Almighty Dollar has taken center stage: clients are increasingly fixated on tightened budgets and efficient service delivery. It’s also clear that discussing the dollars is something a lot of lawyers prefer to avoid. We recently led a Legal… Continue Reading

Why Lawyers are Lousy Collaborators

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management

Guest Post by Douglas Richardson Partner, Edge International In an evolving legal profession in which the players are ever more functionally interdependent, the ability to collaborate has become a core competency. In managing law firms and legal departments…managing legal projects…in client service and client relations…and in marketing and business development, the ability to play well… Continue Reading

A Case Study at the Cutting Edge: Legal Project Management in Australia

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend, New Normal, Outside Counsel

The legal profession, sad to say, rewards its denizens with relatively few breakout moments, a dearth of challenges that allow its movers and shakers to break new ground. All the talk about law’s “New Normal” notwithstanding, the legal landscape is a pretty conventional place, populated by more “first followers” than “first movers.” That’s why it… Continue Reading

THE LOW DELTA FIRM: Demise of the Low Ball?

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

If you are racing to stay competitive in today’s rapidly-changing legal marketplace, you probably have learned some new words and acronyms. Convergence programs. Alternative fee arrangements – or AFAs. RFPs, those increasingly draconian client requests for proposals. LPM, that is, legal project management. LPOs, those legal process outsourcing enterprises. The Key Selection Criterion All of… Continue Reading

You Can’t Make Lawyers into Techies: 3 Lessons About Legal Project Management

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools

As a result of a conversation I had this week with David Rueff, a partner at Baker Donelson and an ardent advocate of Legal Project Management (LPM), right now I am particularly mindful of the adage, “never try to teach a rhino to dance. The results are generally unsatisfactory and it annoys the rhino.” Mind… Continue Reading