FutureLaw’24: the Main Insights and Tips for Legal Project Management

Fondia Legal Operation team shares know-how on Legal project management 

Legal Project Management
Legal Technology
Legal Operations
Last week I participated at the FutureLaw’24 Conference with the workshop on integration of Legal Project Management (LPM) techniques and principles in lawyer’s daily work by using our own example - Legal Department as a Service (LDaaS) – to illustrate how this may look in practice. If you have missed the workshop, you will find the main insights and tips here.

You may find various definitions of LPM, but basically all of them are saying that LPM is about integration of project management techniques and principles for legal matters. However, to me personally LPM is about the mindset and ways of working smarter. Further, there are different methodologies and frameworks for LPM (and you may even have your own), but all of them are more or less about the same: scoping, planning, budgeting, executing, monitoring (performance vs. budget), communicating, closing the project and finally - continuous improvement. Here are my main insights and tips per each of the stage of LPM for you to consider:

1. Scoping: what needs to be done, what is included and excluded?

To answer these questions, you need to get an understanding of the customer, of its business, targets, situation, state of the legal affairs, etc. To identify the legal needs and to collect data for that purpose, you may use already pre-drafted surveys, questionnaires or online tools (for example, check our Legal Health Check). Thus, integration of technologies for smarter ways of data collection and analysis can be something for you to consider at the stage of scoping. However, dedication of time for in-person meetings with key stakeholders is a must.

2. Planning: what are the exact tasks, who is responsible for each task, and how the risks and issues will be managed?

In my view, the main aspect for this stage is consideration of the change management in respect of technological solutions. Most of the customers already have the systems they use and, thus, may not be the greatest supporters of using one more system or tool in addition, especially if additional budget will be required. Be ready to explain the exact value of the tool/system and bear in mind that simple tools that you or your customer already have may work LPM too.

3. Budgeting: estimates how much the project will cost, based on the scope and plan.

There is just one challenge with the stage, and it is the same for everyone – budget itself. Changes within the project are natural process as long you know how to manage them. Thus, the change management process must be pre-discussed and pre-agreed with the customer (what is the process, how and who will approve changes, especially if they will affect the budget, etc.). This is important because customers expect predictability regarding budget and quite often, we as project managers are uncertain about uncertainties we may face with during the project.

4. Execution and Monitoring (performance vs. budget): reporting on status of tasks, checking and confirming the scope, management of changes, monitoring and control of timeline, budget, quality and risks.

Integration of technology can be considered, at least by utilizing tools already available at the customer. In Fondia and for LDaaS customers, we use MyFondia platform (you may check it!) to demonstrate status of ongoing legal matters as well as such tools like Microsoft Planner, excel, simple email, etc. Additionally, project manager plays crucial role here and integration of technologies to help him/her track the status of the project vs. budget with dedication of minimal time resources should be considered too (special setting in existing timesheet program, integration of timesheet program with other platforms/tools in use for project management, etc.).

5. Communication: a key to success for LPM.

Legal project managers play an important role in scoping, planning, and budgeting, as they must balance the quality, time, and cost of the project as well as the wellbeing of team members. Thus, communication is crucial in every phase of the LPM and the personality of the project manager is important. It does not matter what kind of tools you will pick up for communication, but as a legal project manager you must be knowledgeable and approachable.

6. Closing the project and continuous improvement: check of project’s results should be performed to answer the question if we did what was requested?

After this you can follow with documentation and invoice. Once the project is closed, consideration of lessons learned is required as it gives you a possibility to search for new ways of working smarter. Thus, don’t forget to ask for feedback.

unforeseen expenses or adjustments).

You can access the workshop presentation here and the exercise Checklist here.

Any questions?

If you would like to discuss the application of LPM techniques and principles or discuss my personal takeaways from FutureLaw’24, please feel free to contact me.