Can project management make you a better lawyer?

Can project management make you a better lawyer?

Honing your abilities as a practice manager is often dubbed as the best remedial tool towards improving and expanding your legal practice. What is lesser discussed however, are the merits of project management. While the perks of practice management are myriad, lawyers miss a trick by under-utilising project management tools. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have identified project management as a key competency and it is certainly a practice that can lever better relationships, transparency and productivity. In this article we discuss the benefits of project management and provide practical tips on integrating it into your practice.

While project management may at first sound like the preserve of engineers and, well, project managers…in reality, project management filters into all aspects of legal practice. Borrowing a definition of project management from LPM, projects are defined by the following three characteristics:

  • have a definite start and end point
  • are of a temporary nature, so once the end-point is reached the project is over
  • create something "new" or "unique"

As a result, almost all legal matters fall under the jurisdiction of a project, particularly from the perspective of clients. For clients; many legal matters are temporary and new, representing unchartered territory through which they must be guided and supported. Though lawyers may be tempted to consider legal project as a legal ‘processes’, clients generally view things differently. This bares out anecdotally: How often do clients discuss their frustrations about the movement of cases? Or asking for an update on papers?

Utilising the principles of good project management will empower

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About the author:
Catherine is one of the Future of Law's digital editors. She graduated from Durham University with a degree in English Literature and worked at a barristers chambers before joining Lexis Nexis.