Lemmings, Lemmings!

November 17, 2010

In his blog post (Why Implement LPM? More Good Reasons… and Bad), Steven B. Levy writes about the wrong reasons for implementing LPM (Legal project management).
I agree with Mr. Levy. Law firms should not do it just because others do, yet we can’t ignore the “Lemmings” factor. It is a strong motivation for some firms. He’s also concerned about heavy project management methodologies. I agree – Six Sigma may be used as a marketing window dressing on the firm’s web site, but trying to implement such heavy duty PM methodology, just because others use it, is destined to fail.

Project management is an everyday skill for anyone who has a string of related tasks and a deadline to meet (my dinner parties!).  And of course, Attorneys do it already – but mostly with little more than their intuition as a guide. What’s missing are best practices that will help them achieve greater efficiency, profitability and transparency (both internally and with their clients).

Can firms be successful introducing simple PM principles to support those goals? Based on my own experience managing a business consultancy, and working with law firms as clients, I believe it is needed and feasible. But with the exception of very complex files, Legal PM “light” is all that’s required.

As a CEO I know the immediate  financial benefits (profitability) and client management issues (high degree of satisfaction) that simple PM principles can support. Law firms can learn some lessons (both good and bad) from their closest business ‘siblings’ – management consultancies. Simply put, our clients expect us to manage tasks, time, resources and finances. We had to step up to the plate. And so will law firms.

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2 Responses to “Lemmings, Lemmings!”


  1. I guess my question is how would product management differ from practice management? In the practice management sector, I know the web based model is catching on fast! Especially for small to midsize firms.

    • Shy Alter Says:

      Thanks Danny, My answer below assumes you meant ‘Project Management’ and not ‘Product Management’.

      If anything, using the term legal project management should be confused with matter management. Practice management on the other hand, is a comprehensive legal business management discipline and processes that in turn, include legal project management or matter management.
      I said “should be confused” – because Matter Management practices could and should include project management discipline. Depending on one’s definition – the two are interchangeable. Most attorneys will be more comfortable with the term “matters”, and not “projects”.


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