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Category Archives: Law firm practices

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Is This In My Job Description? What Managing Partners Say About Their Job

Posted in Law firm practices

This post continues an ongoing series deriving from discussions by a group of leaders of small and medium-sized firms at a Managing Partners Forum recently sponsored by Edge International. This group of MPs report that daily they confront a bewildering – often seemingly crazy — variety of issues and frustrations they did not anticipate when… Continue Reading

Loneliness at the Top: Managing Partners’ Scary Balancing Act

Posted in Law firm practices

In our last post, we described the almost overwhelming variety of issues reported by firm leaders attending an Edge International-sponsored Managing Partners’ Forum, and we promised a more granular look at several of the challenges that really keep them up at night. In this installment: How do I balance my management responsibilities and the demands… Continue Reading

Up Close and Personal – Perspectives from a Managing Partners’ Forum

Posted in Law firm practices

Edge International recently co-sponsored and facilitated a Managing Partners’ Forum in Savannah for medium-sized firms in the Southeastern region, and I came away from the discussions both with some eye-opening impressions and a renewed sense of respect for how hard law firm leaders’ jobs are these days. My partners and I were there not to… Continue Reading

The Death of Lifetime Partnership?

Posted in Law firm practices

In a recent article entitled “Layoffs Threaten Law-Firm Partners,” The Wall Street Journal broke the startling news — irony intended — that “as firms grapple with continued lackluster demand for legal services, some are handing out pink slips” to unproductive partners. The article quoted one unnamed partner as saying, “you’re only as secure as the… Continue Reading

Battling the New Inefficiency Disease: Digital Distraction

Posted in Law firm practices

Today’s increasing drive for more efficiency in the delivery of legal services tends to focus on proactive tactics and technologies to achieve faster communication, faster results, and complete elimination of time that doesn’t add value. Ironically, however, today’s technological advances are creating an escalating and little-acknowledged source of inefficiency. How? By creating constant and unavoidable distraction… 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

A New Frame of Reference: Reflections on the Legal Industry from the Amazon River

Posted in Law firm practices, New Normal, Outside Counsel

It’s strange to find myself ruminating on the changes in the legal profession as I travel on the Amazon River in Brazil, 20 miles upriver from the city of Manaus.  What could the global legal marketplace possibly have in common with one of the world’s largest and most complex watersheds? A couple of similarities swim… 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

Extreme Magical Thinking: Technology Won’t Take You Off the Hook

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

On the eve of LegalTech, I have been encountering a lot of magical thinking recently when talking with law firm partners about Legal Project Management.  One partner, hoping that the IT and KM folks can simply buy a tech solution so that he could avoid making any real changes to the way he manages matters,… Continue Reading

A General Counsel’s Take On Legal Project Management & Foreseeability

Posted in Alternative Fee Arrangements, General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

Guest Post by Russ Dempsey, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer United Retirement Plan Consultants   Pam Woldow’s recent blog post, Putting Some Pepper Into Legal Project Management, called to mind my own recent successful use of Legal Project Management (LPM) to manage the risks and foreseeability issues in an engagement with one of our… Continue Reading

Are You Prepared to Kick Butt?

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

This song goes out to all you General Counsel and senior in-house lawyers, and its title is “Sometimes You Folks Get Hosed and Don’t Do Nothin’ About It.” I could just as easily have directed the song to those law firm lawyers who sometimes are a little, ah, “casual” about the finer points of scoping… Continue Reading

Putting Some Pepper Into Legal Project Management?

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

It is not uncommon for law firms being pressed by clients for more accurate budgeting and better budget management to raise the “unpredictability defense.” Whether in litigation or transactional matters, the unpredictability defense asserts that it is nearly impossible to precisely plan and completely control legal spend because legal matters are subject to such a… Continue Reading

Dialing for Pizza: Practical Perspectives on Scoping Legal Projects

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

Legal Project Management (LPM) assigns extraordinary importance to providing legal services that deliver value as perceived by the client. Yet over and again we observe that while in-house counsel tend to view legal matters in terms of broad business issues and the pressures of “commerciality,” law firm lawyers tend to focus on identifying narrow legal… Continue Reading

Mallesons is Making Efficiency a Law Firm Issue.

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone complains about the weather, but few are doing anything about it. A notable exception is premier Australian firm Mallesons. The firm not only has responded to the client-driven need for enhanced value and efficiency in legal service delivery, but has recognized that lawyers’ time is much better spent doing things that… Continue Reading

More Eureka Moments in Legal Project Management

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Midsize firms, Outside Counsel

Welcome to the new site for At the Intersection.  We are settling in to our new address and relationship with Lexblog, and are delighted to commence the kickoff with a GUEST POST. Proving that great minds and great firms think alike, I’m pleased to share a guest post contributed by Sheri Palomaki, Director of Practice… Continue Reading

The Random Lunatic — Always an Unhappy Surprise

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management

(Part 4 of 5, LPM in Transactional Practices) EUREKA! Ever had that experience when someone coins a phrase that perfectly describes something you could never find the word to describe? It happened recently during a fascinating conversation with “Lex,” head of a large law firm’s transactional corporate practice and an advocate for applying Legal Project… Continue Reading