In-house lawyers are untrained project managers and process analysts

Richard Susskind, speaking at ILTA 2009, expounded on the distinction between project management and process analysis. Project management is a sophisticated discipline with many tools and best-known methods. Project management controls and coordinates non-routine legal work that lasts for a period of time. Process analysis, as Susskind defined it, decides how to “unchunk” legal services for multi-sourcing. What parts of a complex project can and should be done by which people, in other words.

In-house counsel often find themselves forced to become project managers, such as when they oversee two law firms on an acquisition, plus a forensic consulting firm and several vendors in due diligence. Yet few of them have had formal training in project management skills. Somewhat similarly, in-house lawyers should think about divvying up work so that the most cost-effective but competent team does each part, all the while exercising project management adeptness to orchestrate the effort.

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