Project Management Best Practices For Law Firms & Attorneys
The legal industry is among the least flexible or adaptable industries. While project management has been around for quite a while now, it could take some years for the legal sector to embrace its principles in its eternity. But not all lawyers are left behind in adopting project management in their day-to-day activities. Some have joined the bandwagon and are reaping the benefits. However, reaping the full benefits of incorporating project management calls for following best management practices. This post highlights these practices, so you may want to read on to get a better insight into project management for law firms and attorneys.
Best Project Management Practices for Law Firms
Define Your Project
Previously completed legal projects are important reference points when planning out legal matters. However, no project can be a replica of a past one. So you will need to define each project based on the facts of the case. Some factors you may want to consider when defining a specific project include the client’s goals and expectations, deliverables, and expected timelines. You will also need to break down the project into phases and allocate time to every phase based on the demands of the phase. This way, you can estimate the time and the resources needed to complete the project.
Divide the Work Evenly
If you run a law firm with several associate lawyers, you will want to involve all of them equally based on each associate lawyer’s strengths. Having all your associates involved may not necessarily mean that you have all of them involved in one project management for law. If you are handling many projects simultaneously, you can have different teams work on different projects. But all members of the team must share work evenly.
The best way to ensure you distribute work evenly is by incorporating a legal project management tool. Project management tools offer project managers a better view of team members in terms of their skillset, schedule, tasks allocated, etc., to ensure that all associates have an even workload and that allocated tasks overburden none.
Make It Easy for Clients to Access Information
Your client’s main concerns are the outcomes and progress of a case. So you can expect that they will want to be in contact from time to time. If you run a significantly large law firm keeping up with incoming calls from clients wanting to know the progress of their case can be a challenge. But they do not have to call in all the time if they have a portal where they can access all the information they need concerning their case.
So, if you don’t have one, you should consider incorporating one on your website. Customer portals allow each client access to information specific to their case through login credentials that only allow them to access their case details, so you do not have to worry about client privacy.
Safeguard Your Content During Project Management in Law
Your clients should also be able to access information on some of the most frequently asked questions and other information on your website. But creating content can be challenging. So, there is a need to safeguard your content. If you have had experiences with infringement of your copyright through duplication of your content, you may want to talk to an IP lawyer, such as Heer Law, to look into your options for the violation.
Monitor Progress and Evaluate Outcomes
Planning a project is work half done. The execution part is the other half. Staying on track with a project calls for monitoring its progress. Sometimes you may need to readjust your plans based on arising matters. However, the goal should always be to stick to the plan. In case of any changes, it is important to notify the client. After completing a project, you will need to evaluate the outcomes and the entire process, which will be useful in creating future project plans.
Benefits of Project Management for Attorney and Law Firms:
The function of project manager or participation in a project team is something that is often required of lawyers. And all legal issues, regardless of the practice area, may be called “projects”. They typically have a specific start date and an end date, and that they entail the creation of anything “new.”
When it comes to dealing with a client’s specific legal problem, attorneys have a tendency to emphasize on the term “process.” On the other hand, when it comes to the implementation of project management, it is relatively straightforward to exchange the word “process” with “project.” However, this is just the beginning of a successful implementation.
How project management in law works?
From the very first consultation with a client all the way to a case’s conclusion in court. And there are a great deal of facets that are susceptible to modification at each stage. When there is good project management, any changes to the scope of the project are documented at each and every stage. This ensures that there is a lower danger of fee-blowout and write-offs. As the implications can be detected and addressed earlier in the process, rather than in retrospect.
The second advantage of project management is that it enables teams to improve their communication with clients. This enables clients to gain a better understanding of how things change. And why they change, the likely impact those changes will have, and the potential change in fees that will result from those changes. Project management enables doors for dialogue regarding result expectations.
The next phase is to construct a precise overview or scope of the work involved based on the client’s aim. This should include key deliverables, milestones, assumptions, and at least a high-level budget.
Once the work has actually begun, the following stages require drafting a project or work plan for the topic. This plan should include the allocation of resources and personnel for each step (phase, task, and activity), as well as a communication protocol, risk assessment, and change plan.
Victor Z Young is a Civil Engineer with 35 years of experience working alongside the executive team of various construction companies. Victor specializes in construction insurance, delay analysis, performance analysis and engineering. He holds a Doctor of Project Management from Northwestern University.