The globalisation of legal services, changing market realities and increasing competition have led to a project-based approach in the delivery of legal services, i.e. Legal Project Management (LPM), a standard in law firms around the world. This is particularly evident in the UK and the US, but LPM is also gaining ground in continental Europe.
Legal Project Management
LPM involves the application of project management principles and practices to enhance the delivery of legal services.
LPM is a necessary response of modern law firms to the changing business expectations of clients, particularly in multi-faceted disputes, including international arbitration. Why?
The answer is simple: LPM brings tangible benefits to clients.
LPM: benefits for clients in their dispute resolution process
Legal services deliver real value by meeting expectations on price, time and quality of work, with clients receiving ongoing progress and budget utilisation information. Today’s businesses are looking to mitigate the risk of high legal costs and make more informed decisions about whether to proceed with legal action. In times of crisis and spiralling inflation, LPM provides stability and predictability in the cost of quality legal services.
LPM involves a professional expert, a legal project manager, who combines substantive knowledge and experience in a particular area of law with innovative project management techniques, often using the latest technological tools.
Such a manager works within or alongside project teams, ensuring that they adopt best management practices to maximise their efficiency and productivity.
Legal project managers reduce the administrative burden on their teams by carefully planning and monitoring schedules, milestones and risks to ensure operational efficiency.
LPM enables lawyers to work on the most strategic aspects of a case and focus on the elements that create real value for clients and the firm.
The legal project manager: a great asset to clients and their cases
The involvement of a legal project manager ensures a proactive approach to the client’s case and needs, with the procedural objectives being agreed with the client and monitored throughout the proceedings. From the legal project manager’s perspective, it is not the verdict that is of most value, but the business rationale and importance of the case to the client and its business interests. For this reason, great emphasis is placed on the transparency and quality of communication throughout the project.
Another benefit is the budget transparency referred to above. Using LPM techniques, the scope of work and the required budget can be more precisely defined, and following from this, processes can be planned to allow an efficiently changing of this scope as the project progresses and the expectations of the parties involved evolve in real time.
LPM guarantees clients continuous budget and resource monitoring throughout the project (dispute) cycle, as well as influence over any changes to the scope of work and risk allocation. This is particularly important in adaptive disputes, such as international arbitration, where procedural flexibility and the will of parties often lead to changes in the original scope of work or even in the key assumptions agreed with the client.
Similar benefits can be seen in any multi-faceted dispute that is cross-border, involves a number of stakeholders (often from different jurisdictions) or requires the active involvement of the client and its law firm or the cooperation of lawyers from different law firms.
In addition, shared familiarity with project methods and techniques facilitates mutual communication and increases the efficiency of working with clients and other organisations. This is particularly appreciated by clients for whom project work is an organisational standard.
Every dispute, including international arbitration, should be viewed as a project that requires a full assessment of the expectations and objectives of parties and other stakeholders, whose proper management, including appropriate project team leadership, will enable those objectives to be achieved most effectively.
LPM at Kochański & Partners
The use of LPM techniques and methods in disputes enables real time and cost savings to be made during proceedings (whether litigation or arbitration). It also ensures that the objectives of the proceedings and the expectations of the client, who is a party to the proceedings, are met.
As one of the first in the market, our Dispute Resolution Practice offers a comprehensive management of pending litigation and arbitration proceedings with a project-based approach. The team includes Magdalena Papiernik-König, an advocate and certified Legal Project PractitionerTM, accredited by the International Institute of Legal Project Management.
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 This definition is most often referred to by the International Institute of Legal Project Management; “IILPM”.