Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Apr. 26, 2012
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Law Practice Management Tip

Legal Project Management By Nana: A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

Part I of a series on legal project management

Attorneys are using project management (PM) techniques to work smarter, produce better results and win clients.

Project management, at its simplest, is just determining how to achieve a goal most efficiently. More comprehensively, it is a set of practices to create a product on time and budget by systemic resource management. We'll just stick with the simple version from here on out.

To increase efficiency, project managers determine the steps needed to complete a project, the logical order of the steps and how much each step costs. For example, if our mill wants to sell T-shirts at London's 2012 Summer Olympics, a project manager ensures the shirts cost $10 apiece and are ready in July, not $150 in December.

The following PM idea can reduce unbilled time devoted to first drafts. Rather than senior attorneys directing juniors to "take a whack" at writing a first draft and senior lawyers making subsequent copious revisions, PM suggests senior lawyers outline the key aspects of a document. The juniors can fill in details, such as case cites, cross references or attachments. Thus, junior attorneys have a better understanding of the end product, will guess less and bill more.

If you think attorneys can't revise their time-honored procedures for modern ideas, just recall "The switch in time that saved nine." Maybe your next case will bring you before today's Justice Owen J. Roberts, Anthony Kennedy.

Tip courtesy of Scott L. Malouf, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published April 26, 2012

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To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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