Digital White Papers

December 2013: Business and Financial Management

publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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LPM BENEFITS FOR CLIENTS The cornerstone of legal project management is the scope of work. The scope of work articulates in writing the work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service or result as specified by the customer. In order to create a clear scope of work, you need to understand the legal issue (or "the project") and the business context of the situation. Legal issues are simply business problems or opportunities. Through dialogue and client interaction, you need to ascertain the client's requirements, objectives and conditions of satisfaction. You have to identify the key stakeholders and work to understand their potentially positive or negative impact on the work. The description of the scope of work is used to create your project plan, task list, roles and responsibilities, timelines, and budget. GET ON BOARD The scope of work needs to be expressed in terms of the activity required to meet the goals. It should not be detailed to the point of being a task list but should describe the work with enough clarity to provide the boundaries of the matter. If you are having trouble crafting the scope of work, chances are you did not do enough upfront informationgathering from the key stakeholders. The scope of work should clearly outline the parameters and limitations of the job to be done. What will and what will not be delivered? It is important to communicate both of those things. From the perspective of inhouse counsel, all the law firms and legal service providers hired to manage work for us should participate in this level of planning with the inhouse counsel. Law firms should be able to provide a written plan clearly articulating an understanding of the goal and the scope of work. A work plan should be included with a timeline, a list of people who will be involved, along with an understanding of their roles, and the budget. The budget should be developed based on a breakdown of the approved work required to meet the scope and deliverables. As clients, the inhouse counsel should push back and request PROJECT SCOPE: INPUTS AND OUTPUTS you have to know this to create this in clear terms so that you can determine these project goals strategy schedule purpose/objectives constraints budget business context context key stakeholder needs/requiements project team input PROJECT SCOPE work plan resources these items if they are not forthcoming. This is simply good business management practice and a reasonable expectation — even, and especially, from a law firm. It is not helpful for the law firm to sell their project management skills simply to be viewed as a trendy firm. Knowledge management and project management, although they support each other, are not the same thing. Process management and project management, although many times work hand in hand, are not the same thing. Inhouse counsel will learn to expect the outside counsel to partner with them in serving the corporate client.

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