In the 2012 supplement to Bob Haig’s massive compilation on law departments, Successful Partnering between Inside and Outside Counsel (West 2012) at 42:18, the authors of a piece on project management mention an idea. An unnamed law firm “combined a timely ‘workload report’ sent by e-mail or fax early each month with a progress report sent two weeks later.” The workload report describes recent activities, total hours spent on the matter during the prior month, and the staff breakdown of those hours. It also includes a trend line of hours worked and a forecast of the key activities upcoming.
The progress report follows by the 20th of each month, and it adds new developments and revises the forecasts. The law firm provides these previews for its insurance company client in addition to normal, monthly invoices. For massive, long-running engagements, something like these early-warnings can help a law department ride the tiger.