Peer to Peer Magazine

June 2013

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Stuart J T Dodds is Baker & McKenzie's Director of Global Pricing and Legal Project Management. He is responsible for providing targeted pricing development, negotiation and project management support to partners and coworkers responsible for the firm's major clients. Stuart can be contacted at stuart.dodds@bakermckenzie.com. The global financial crisis shifted how law firms conduct business. It turbocharged the need for efficiency gains across all industries, including legal. This brought an acute focus on, and much debate over, legal billing rates, pricing methods and service delivery models. A lesser observed phenomenon, at least to date, has been the steady rise of new non-traditional roles within law firms that focus on areas such as pricing, fee negotiations, client value and legal project management (LPM), resulting in the emergence of legal project managers. LONG-TERM PRACTICES RETOOLED Project management has been around since the mid-1950s in a wide variety of industries and professions. The Project Management Institute was formed in 1969 to increase greater communication and to share best practices in the field. It is arguable that in the legal world, project management is not that unusual. As Bruce McEwen, a noted legal commentator and President of Adam Smith, Esq., observes, "Every time you run a matter for your firm, you are engaging in project management." After all, lawyers plan matters, they delegate appropriate responsibilities, and they seek to deliver their matters to the appropriate level of quality. As one of the key advocates of LPM, founder of Lexician Steven Levy points out, "All projects are managed. Some are managed deliberately, some inadvertently. Deliberate project management is better." However, in April 2010, an article in the Canadian Lawyer noted "project management is so new to the legal professional that everyone is still trying to figure out what it can do and how to make it work." In some respects, we still are. Only as of late 2010 has there been a group within the Project Management Institute dedicated to legal project management. However, the key goes back to Steven's observation that deliberate, more structured project management is better. That is where legal project managers come in. Peer to Peer 77

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