The legal profession is constantly evolving. This blogs explores what legal project management is and the impact it can have on legal operations.
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The legal profession is constantly evolving, and legal project management is a relatively new concept that has emerged in recent years. Legal project management involves applying project management principles and techniques to the practice of law. The goal is to manage legal matters in a more organized and efficient way, which can lead to better outcomes for clients, increased profitability for law firms, and improved job satisfaction for legal professionals. In this blog post, we'll explore what legal project management is and the impact it can have on legal operations. You can can also explore the best practices involves on our blog here.
In this article, we will cover the following:
- What is legal project management?
- Why is legal project management important?
- What’s involved with legal project management?
- Applying legal project management: some examples
- What’s the impact of LPM on legal operations?
- How can Newton help with legal project management?
What is legal project management?
Legal project management (LPM) is a growing discipline in the legal industry that focuses on applying project management principles and practices to the delivery of legal services.
LPM is the application of project management methodologies to legal matters, with the goal of improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing the quality of legal services provided.
Legal project management originated in response to the increasing pressure on law firms to deliver legal services more efficiently and cost-effectively. The legal industry has traditionally been slow to adopt new technologies and methodologies, but as clients demanded more transparency and accountability in their legal services, law firms recognized the need for more efficient and effective project management practices - and this is now translating into an in-house context.
In the early days of LPM, individual lawyers were responsible for managing their own cases, with little coordination or collaboration between different teams or groups. However, as the legal industry has become more complex and specialized, both law firms and in-house teams have realized that effective project management is essential for delivering high-quality legal services.
Today, legal project management has become a critical part of the legal industry, with some legal departments even recruiting dedicated LPM professionals and integrating project management practices into their everyday operations. By applying project management methodologies to legal matters, legal teams can better manage their resources, optimize their workflows, and deliver legal services more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Why is legal project management important?
Over half of lawyers believe the optimization of workflows and project management is a “high priority”.
As an in-house legal team, you are responsible for managing a wide range of legal matters and ensuring that your company is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. LPM can be a powerful tool for improving your team's efficiency and effectiveness and can help you better meet the needs of your internal clients.
Here are a few reasons why legal project management is so important for in-house legal teams:
By using project management methodologies to manage legal matters, you can reduce the amount of time and resources needed to complete each project, which can lead to significant cost savings. With LPM, you can more effectively allocate your team's resources, streamline your workflows, and avoid unnecessary delays or rework.
Effective communication is critical for success in any project, and legal matters are no exception. LPM can help ensure that all team members are on the same page, and that everyone has a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. By improving communication, you can reduce misunderstandings and ensure that all parties are working towards the same goal.
With LPM, you can establish clear goals and timelines for each legal matter, and hold team members accountable for meeting these targets. This can help ensure that projects stay on track and everyone is working towards a common objective.
Better risk management
Legal matters often involve complex and potentially risky issues, and effective risk management is critical for minimizing the potential impact on your organization. With LPM, you can identify potential risks early on, and develop strategies to mitigate them before they become major issues.
Improved client satisfaction
Ultimately, the goal of any in-house legal team is to provide high-quality legal services to internal clients. By using LPM to better manage legal matters, you can improve your team's efficiency and effectiveness, and deliver better results to your clients.
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What’s involved with legal project management?
As we’ve discussed, LPM involves applying project management principles and practices to the delivery of legal services. To ensure projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of internal clients, there are a few key components to consider.
The first step in any legal project is to develop a plan. This involves identifying the scope of the project, setting clear goals and objectives, and developing a timeline and budget. With a clear plan in place, you can better allocate resources, manage expectations, and ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal.
Legal matters can be expensive, and effective budgeting is critical for managing costs and avoiding surprises. By developing a detailed budget that takes into account all relevant expenses, including outside counsel fees, you can better manage costs and avoid overspending.
Effective communication is critical for success in any legal matter, and LPM can help ensure that everyone is on the same page. This includes establishing clear channels of communication, setting up regular check-ins and status updates, and making sure that all team members have the information they need to do their jobs effectively.
During an interview with Newton, Legal Service Delivery Expert Ignaz Fuesgen shared his thoughts on the importance of establishing a “common language” to improve cross-functional collaboration.
We place the human being at the centre of our process design and execution, a philosophy borrowed from design-thinking. A “common language” means understanding each party’s preferences for sharing and receiving information. Technology and processes are enablers of such a legal service delivery process, not more but also not less.
Legal matters often involve complex and potentially risky issues, and effective risk management is critical for minimizing the potential impact on your organization. With LPM, you can identify potential risks early on, develop strategies to mitigate them and keep stakeholders informed of any potential issues.
Monitoring and reporting
To ensure that projects stay on track, it's important to establish a system for monitoring progress and reporting on results. This includes tracking milestones and deadlines, identifying potential bottlenecks or areas of concern, and providing regular updates to stakeholders.
So, legal project management involves a range of tasks and activities, including planning, budgeting, communication, risk management, and monitoring and reporting. By ensuring you give focus to these components, you’ll be able to better deliver your legal workload, manage costs effectively, improve communication, and deliver better results to internal clients.
Applying legal project management: some examples
LPM can be applied to a wide range of legal matters, regardless of their size or complexity. Below, we explore a few examples of legal matters that can benefit from LPM.
Litigation can be one of the most complex and time-consuming legal matters for in-house teams, and effective project management is critical to increasing the likelihood of success. By using LPM, you can develop a clear plan for managing the litigation process, including setting timelines for key milestones, managing discovery, and coordinating with outside counsel.
Compliance with regulations and laws is critical for every organization, and effective project management can help ensure that your compliance efforts are on track. This includes developing a plan for managing compliance, setting clear goals and timelines, and monitoring progress to ensure that your organization remains in compliance.
Contracts are a critical part of many legal matters and effective contract management can help ensure that your organization is getting the most out of its contracts and business relationships while minimizing risk. With LPM, you can develop a clear plan for managing the contract lifecycle, including negotiating and drafting contracts, monitoring compliance, and managing disputes.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions are also among some of the most complex legal matters, and LPM can help not only ensure the smooth running of the project but also the success rates of the transition. This includes developing a plan for managing due diligence, coordinating with outside counsel, and managing the integration process after the deal has closed.
Intellectual property (IP) is a critical, valuable asset for many organizations and effective LPM can help ensure that your organization is protecting its IP rights. This includes developing a plan for managing the IP portfolio, monitoring for infringement, and managing disputes.
What’s the impact of LPM on legal operations?
Legal project management has a significant impact on legal operations. There are several key benefits of LPM on legal ops.
By using project management techniques, in-house legal teams can streamline legal processes and improve efficiency. LPM helps to identify and eliminate bottlenecks, reduce errors, and ensure that legal matters are completed on time and within budget.
Better cost management
LPM can help in-house legal teams to manage costs more effectively. By setting clear project budgets, tracking expenses, and identifying potential cost savings, legal teams can better manage their budgets and reduce unnecessary spending.
Improved communication and collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration are essential for successful LPM. By establishing clear lines of communication with internal clients, outside counsel, and other stakeholders, in-house legal teams can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that legal matters are managed effectively.
Increased stakeholder satisfaction
By setting clear project objectives and expectations, and communicating regularly with stakeholders, in-house legal teams can build strong relationships with internal clients and improve their satisfaction with legal services.
Better risk management
By developing risk management strategies and contingency plans, legal teams can reduce the likelihood of legal disputes and other issues, and ensure that legal matters are managed in a proactive and effective manner.
Legal project management is a critical tool for in-house legal teams looking to improve their efficiency, effectiveness, and client satisfaction. By adopting project management methodologies, legal departments can streamline your workflows, reduce costs, improve communication, and better manage risks, ultimately leading to better outcomes for your organization.
How can Newton help with legal project management?
Legal project management means ensuring the effective management of all legal matters. Newton delivers an easy and intuitive platform to manage and automate your legal entities' information, governance, and compliance. If your entity management processes are currently creating friction for your team (which they are for many), be sure to get in touch to explore how Newton can help you have everything you need to be in control of your entity portfolio.
About this article
Legal Project Management (2019). Who is best placed to act as legal project manager?
Law Vision (2022). The Latest Trends and Data Points on Legal Project Management.
Deloitte (2019). Legal Project Management has finally made its way into German in-house legal departments.