C. Step Three: Managing for Success
Managing is a corollary to implementing, requiring time and attention as an engagement unfolds
to ensure quality execution of the agreed-upon terms. Good managing also involves, where
necessary, changes to ensure that performance stays on track. This may mean changing the way
work is done (to be more effective), changing the timing of tasks (to stay on schedule or budget),
changing or reviewing the performance of contributors/players (to assure that the right workers
do the right work), or changing the scope of the project plan (to better reflect changed assumptions
around matter activity).
This step—effective management of legal services—is another one that could fill a book in and of
itself, and much has been written on this topic. Highlighted below are key points that are
particularly relevant to value-based fee structures.
The core management questions to answer on a consistent basis include:
■ Are we effectively executing against the plan? If not, why not?
■ What changes are necessary?
■ How strong is the quality of the work produced?
■ How strong is the process of producing the work? (Are we on time, with enough
■ How strong are the information tracking and communication processes? Are
periodic updates provided in a timely fashion, with the right level of detail? Are
unanticipated developments communicated effectively so as to avoid unnecessary
■ How are things faring according to both quantitative measures (wins/losses, timely
completion of work and deliverables, on budget) and qualitative measures (client
satisfaction, responsiveness, creativity, etc.)?
■ How did we do? Did we achieve the desired results? Are there lessons learned so
we can improve next time (e.g., After Action Reviews)?
There are additional items to consider with respect to project management. First, if you are scorecarding law firm performance, consider sharing the criteria with the firm(s) up front and schedule
periodic meetings to discuss progress. Second, emphasize accountability by addressing nonperformance early on (especially around budget management) to avoid later pitfalls. Third,
consider using a master calendar and management dashboard in shared electronic workspace with
your core outside counsel.
The following resources expand further on the topic of effective management of legal services.