Now that the plan is in place it is time to conduct and manage the legal matter.
Project Initiation: Setting Expectations
Opening a matter in the matter management system, opening a project file, or filling out the requisite
forms are not sufficient to truly initiate the project. There needs to be a formal project initiation
so that all affected parties know that the project is off and running. It is a good idea to conduct a
kick-off meeting at the project outset in order to clarify the expectations of all team members. The
project charter should be reviewed and discussed with all team members so that they are fully aware
of the project’s goals and objectives. The team members should have a clear understanding of what is
within and what is outside the project’s scope. The meeting should be attended by each member of
the team who is expected to have a role in the project. The meeting may also be attended by other
stakeholders who may not be actively involved in executing the project but have an interest in its
outcome. Lastly, the kick-off meeting should clearly articulate each member’s role and responsibilities
so that all parties understand what is to be done, by whom, and when, as well as the applicable budget.
Manage the Team
As the project proceeds, additional team meetings should be held on a periodic basis. The frequency of
these meetings will depend on the length of the project and how fast it progresses. For projects with
a relatively short deadline, these meetings may need to be daily. Other projects may call for weekly
or monthly meetings. During these regular meetings, the project manager should assess, address, and
communicate to the team the progress of the project in terms of task completion and variances in any
of the relevant parameters.
Project Management Review vs. Substantive Review
Project management review of a matter should be conducted independent of substantive review,
so that the project management issues do not become overshadowed. In a litigation matter, for
example, substantive review might include reports on facts developed in discovery and the resulting updated evaluations of potential liability, potential damages, affirmative defenses, or other issues.
Project management review, on the other hand, is a function of monitoring progress of the project
against the plan. Project management review of the same litigation would include matters such as
budget-to-actual reports; reports on timing progress toward each phase or task, such as reporting
on successful uploads of various databases and the percent of data review that is complete.