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Should law firms be permitted to bill the time of their project managers?

Some hard-nosed general counsel snort that project management counts as overhead and partners should not charge for the likes of those people. Like practice support specialists at UK firms, they are overhead.

Others, who have witnessed the plus side of project management or are more in tune with the benefits touted by law firms from skilful management of resources, may be amenable to some costs being passed on. They might find a fixed surcharge acceptable or a percentage of the fees charged. They might let a law firm apply the new skills and agree to pay what they – the inside managing counsel – deem to be the incremental value.

The broader question sweeps in all timekeepers other than paralegals and lawyers. Should e-discovery professionals bill their time? Should research and knowledge experts show up on invoices? What about graphical experts for trials?

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One response to “Should law firms be permitted to bill the time of their project managers?”

  1. Bad — ineffective, misguided — project management is overhead that costs both client and firm. However, good Legal Project Management helps the firm be a good steward of the client’s interests, in terms of outcome, cost certainty, and cost control.
    That’s a professional approach worth paying for, I think. It’s like the old oil filter ad: Pay me now, or pay me later. If the client wants the firm to be an efficient and effective partner, then it should support and encourage firms along these lines.