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April 17, 2019

LPM steps in the lifecycle of a legal project (Part 2 of 3)

By Fred Kinch, Gary Richards, Jim Hassett, and Tim Batdorf

In this the second of our three-part blog series, we summarize the most important LPM issues to consider when planning a new matter. Unless your firm has established formal LPM guidelines, feel free to decide which sections to focus on for each matter and which can be ignored.

  • Assemble the team and assign tasks with estimated hours and due dates for each:
    • Who will be responsible for each task or group of tasks?
    • Determine which tasks should be delegated down and which should be “delegated up” to maximize cost effectiveness
    • How long do they think the tasks will take?
    • What help or support will they need to finish on time, within budget?
  • Develop a communication plan for the client:
    • Who is responsible for communicating with the client decision maker?
    • What does the decision maker care most about?
    • Routinely manage expectations
    • Does the decision maker prefer formal reports, informal email, regular phone calls, face-to-face meetings, or another type of communication?
    • Who else within the client’s company should receive routine and non-routine communications? Who is responsible for communicating with them?
    • Should brief standard reports be submitted periodically as a routine or are status meetings more appropriate?
  • Develop a communication plan for the internal team:
    • Make sure that the team is aware of the scope of the project, expected hours required, and how they will be tracked
    • Decide on the most cost-effective way to keep everyone on the team informed as the matter proceeds
  • Develop a risk analysis with the team and possibly with the client:
    • What could possibly go wrong that would increase the cost, delay the project, or decrease client satisfaction?
    • How likely is this to happen?
    • How serious would the impact be if it did happen?
    • Which risks should you plan for in advance?
    • How can you mitigate major risks (serious and likely to happen) or avoid them altogether?

Reproduced with permission from the Legal Project Management Quick Reference Guide, Fifth Edition (© LegalBizDev, 2019).

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