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Project management skills of law firms might be fodder for RFP questions

On the shores of legal management the latest wave of enthusiasm has many project management surfers. The skills required to estimate time to complete tasks, the best order of those tasks, the right people and tools in the right spots, all these are aspects of project management as I understand it. Books are appearing everywhere as well as courses and articles pitched at lawyers. Perhaps that cluster of tools and approaches is the Next Big Thing.

Meanwhile, despite my misgivings when law departments load RFPs with questions that end up making no difference, it seems useful to ask law firms about their investment in project management. More, ask them to give a real example from the past six months. If those responses help choose the better firm, logic suggests that in-house counsel also should learn more about the discipline.

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One response to “Project management skills of law firms might be fodder for RFP questions”

  1. Eric Elfman says:

    Here, here, here.
    Rees, I think you probably know how I feel about this, but I absolutely believe that the drivers of legal project management have to be the legal departments themselves. And that doesn’t mean to me that they should just expect that discipline from their law firms. They have to lead by example.
    To me, this is no different than when electronic invoicing started gaining traction in the late 1990’s. Law firms started trying to open up portals to invoices and other knowledge to their customers. This was great for law firms, but the number of firms that clients worked with meant that this spiderweb of connections would not work. Corporations had to take charge. I believe the same thing here.
    Certainly law firms should “get the religion” and learn project management; but corporations must own this function for themselves if they hope to standardize their activities and yield the most out of legal project management.