Legal Project Management is Critical to Client Satisfaction
Legal project management is not a fad – you’ve heard about it – you’ve read about it – it’s here to stay. It is a disciplined approach to plan, execute, and manage legal matters within the constraints of budget, time, and project goals, regardless of the size of the project. The most successful attorneys are good legal project managers and are adopting legal project management to handle matters more effectively, efficiently, and profitably resulting in greater client satisfaction. Legal project management also provides a significant business development advantage over lawyers who use traditional legal service delivery approaches. Here are a few action steps you should implement for an effective legal project management process:
- Clearly Define the Scope of Work. Clearly identify the client’s business and legal problems. What are the client’s expectations – what does success mean to the client on this matter? What outcomes are possible? What outcomes are acceptable to the client? What legal work is covered in the engagement and what is out of scope. The client’s goals and expectations must be aligned with the team’s approach. All team members must understand the project scope to keep all legal work on the critical path.
- Identify Constraints and Contingencies. Identify budget, time, and staffing constraints. What is the client’s budget for this matter, are there deadlines, what resources are required for this matter and are they available? Do an early risk analysis – identify the types of surprises that are possible and have a plan to deal with them if they occur.
- Develop a Detailed Plan. Once you understand the project scope, you can develop a budget and detailed task list with clear deadlines. Team members are assigned to the project based on their experience, expertise, and availability. Establish a communications plan that regularly keeps team members and the client informed of the project’s status. Executing the project successfully means adjusting scope, budget, resources, and schedule efficiently and effectively.
- Conduct a Post-Project Review and Evaluation. At the end of each project conduct an evaluation with team members – what did we do well? What could we improve upon? How could we do this differently next time and bring more value to the client? Conduct a post-project review with the client – what did you like about the way we handled this matter? On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with our services? What could we have done better? When you ask the client, you are gauging repurchase intent, how likely will the client engage you again.
The legal industry is experiencing a paradigm shift in the way legal services are delivered. Implementing legal project management in how you handle client matters will differentiate you from your competitors. Legal project management starts and ends with client satisfaction. If you’d like to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss how you or your firm can embrace legal project management, please contact me.