LPM goes a long way, according to speakers at the recent LPM Global Summit. If you missed the Summit, replays are available here for a few more weeks.
Still in the theme of the latest blogs, we asked the question to our Summit panel: How do you see LPM evolving within the firm or in the legal market?
We got inspiring responses from everyone. Here is what they said.
Get real with LPM
Customers know what LPM should look like. We have written in the past about law firms that claim to use LPM in their approach to case management. But once the company wins the tender, its customers complain that they don’t see it.
Anthony Widdop, global director of legal project management at Shearman & Sterling, believes that companies of the future will need to be able to demonstrate real mastery of LPM. “If you look at this from a competitive perspective, you have to say that LPM isn’t just table stakes,” says Widdop. “If customers don’t see that you’re actually applying LPM, your business is at a significant competitive disadvantage.
Widdop asserts that LPM skills are not reserved for the legal environment. “These are essential skills that are needed for the future, and I really advise people to think about them and consider them as a key part of their development.”
Kerryn Underwood, head of legal project management at King & Wood Mallesons, believes that LPM practices will be more empowering for other team members handling the case. She says, “I think we will grow and become…much more skilled [LPM] transaction. But we will also focus on how we can empower our people with self-service tools and information so they can actually do [more] themselves without the need for a dedicated project manager.
Underwood notes, however, that even if much of the responsibility for LPM practices shifts from project management teams to attorneys, LPM will continue to be relevant. “I don’t think the need for LPM is going to diminish,” Underwood says.
Big Data is here
“LPM is now expanding the scope of its responsibilities, where previously it was simply about helping a particular client or business run more smoothly and stay on budget.” Bethany Knoblauch, director of Matter Planning at K&L Gates, sees a bigger, if not more strategic, role for LPM in the future.
Knoblauch says, “Now we see LPM getting involved in things around data analysis on alternative staffing, pricing, really anything related to legal operations. And big data is becoming really important in legal operations. It’s not about computers and artificial intelligence doing the work of lawyers. Rather, it is to complement and inform legal judgment and decision-making processes. Many customers are already there with AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning. They will naturally expect law firms to follow suit.
“LPM is now part of [legal operations] and they are expected to…drive these initiatives within the firm and within the legal industry,” Knoblauch says.
Blending core service delivery with LPM
Tracy Lau, senior project manager at Clifford & Chance, sees an important trend. Increasingly, customers are requesting LPM as part of their overall service delivery. Who better to sell company capabilities than project managers?
“We’re part of the core team on the pitch. And we compete in beauty pageants. I think that’s a trend that we’re just starting to see… that’s going to evolve and grow in the next few years. says Lau.
The mix of Legal Tech and LPM: is there an app for that?
“LPM is going to highlight the need for technology improvements as we work through some of the issues we’re having in management,” says Angela Floessel, director of pricing and legal project management at Morrison & Foerster.
“How can we have better tools to manage tasks? For example, how do you see overall usage? How do you [know] what are you working on in all areas for a specific resource? “I think that will be the direction we will go in the future.
Plus, Floessel says there’s a keen awareness that some of the most repetitive and manual-intensive tasks don’t have to be that way. “Young lawyers are increasingly asking not to have to do things manually.” As mentioned, there is a whole new world of technology out there, including exciting developments in the field of artificial intelligence. And it’s not just young lawyers who are asking, according to Floessel.
Lau can also see the need for smarter processes. She thinks legal tech and LPM will align more closely. She says, “I work daily with my legal technology advisor to improve and streamline the way we create dashboards and automate certain functions. »
From Checking Lists to Checking Technology
Aaran Scott, director of legal project management at Clifford Chance, explains that his law firm is investing in an LPM technology platform. Like many other project management teams, they started small with minimal technical support. Scott says, “We are currently investing in a professional project management platform that will really help us streamline the way we manage projects, and will also help us improve and implement best practices across different types of work.”
LPM is not technology dependent. You don’t need to use a suite of IT tools. Many companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, can accomplish LPM with checklists and flowcharts. Of course, using tools meant for work can certainly make life easier. As companies mature in their use of LPM, there are many user-friendly tools to investigate. We expect more companies to gradually adopt supporting technologies and more comprehensive platforms in the coming years.
LPM: more important than ever
LPM is essential for law firms today. This will be even more critical in the future. As Scott says, we will be dealing with the post-Covid economy for some time. “What long-term impact is Covid going to have on economies, and what pressure is this going to put on professional services firms and legal services firms? Are we going to see even more pressure on efficiency? Undoubtedly.
In addition to LPM, new technologies are being developed. For law firms expecting to stay competitive, LPM, as Widdop mentioned, is table stakes. In order to take advantage of new technologies, companies must have a disciplined approach to project management.
When law firms manage dozens, hundreds or thousands of complex files, LPM is essential. It’s not just a fancy time management tool. It helps law firms scale their businesses, brings management discipline to the workplace, provides transparency for the client, and reduces write-offs and write-downs.
One thing is certain as we glide into 2022 and beyond: LPM is not just for big projects. The full benefit is realized when LPM is used across the board. The more companies apply LPM, the more they can truly recognize the benefits, streamline their work processes, improve their bottom line, and free lawyers to do what they do best.
For the rest of the articles in this series, click here.