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May 01, 2019

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

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

In this the final part 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.

  • Monitor at appropriate intervals:
    • Work performed versus matter plan and budget:
      • How much has been budgeted to complete each milestone in the project?
      • How much was actually spent to date?
      • If at any point actual spending exceeds the planned budget, what can be done to get back on track?
      • Can savings on one activity be applied to compensate for overspending on another, within the overall budget totals?
      • Does the client have any concerns about the quality of the work?
      • How should you monitor the quality of work performed by other team members?
      • How should you track changes to the work required and their implications for schedule and budget?
    • Status, through routine team meetings
    • Risk plan and mitigation activity
    • Communication plans both with the team and the client
  • Separately track the cost of any work that is beyond the scope of the original agreement:
    • Junior team members should get senior approval before performing out of scope work
    • Should the client be informed BEFORE the work is done?
    • Follow clear criteria for when you go to the client to discuss negotiating the change of scope and when to simply go ahead and do the work at no cost to the client (consider it a marketing expense)
    • Keep track of the costs of “beyond scope” work, perhaps with a separate task code
  • Immediately upon recognizing the need for unplanned work which will be negotiated:
    • Do a task level matter plan for the new work
    • Get client approval for the scope change before performing the additional work:
      • What criteria should you use to decide when a change in requirements should lead to a client negotiation for additional funding?
      • Negotiate changes in scope as required
  • Close the matter:
    • Execute the end of matter checklist
    • Compare actual cost and schedule versus planned cost and schedule
    • Conduct a lessons learned team meeting
    • Conduct a lessons learned client meeting

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

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