After defining value to set a general benchmark for success, the next step is scoping the
work to identify what needs to be done to achieve that success. Again, this states the obvious,
but “the devil is in the details” in terms of proper execution.
The shift here is beyond a gut feeling that the budget “looks right,” to a more exact
level of detail enabling sound project management within a legal matter. This may represent
more administrative effort than some of us are accustomed to or comfortable with, but the
two concepts are inextricably linked. You cannot achieve effective value-based fee structures
without effective project management. If you don’t know the various components of what you
are buying, how do you know how much they should cost as a finished product?
Scoping and project management are concepts that many in-house counsel already apply
in an informal way. Heightened success comes from doing it more rigorously so that the
various aspects of work can be tracked and adjusted to improve value. Internal resources
to help manage this include paralegals, operations managers, project managers or support
personnel from Finance or Procurement. External resources include consultants and
value-based fee specialists.
Many law firms are already familiar with the higher levels of scoping and project
management required for value-based billing. For those who are newer to these practices,
a continual focus on the long term benefits (i.e. stronger results, happier clients, better/
more predictable staff deployment, and opportunity for more business) can help smooth
Where do you start in defining the scope of work to be performed for a particular
matter? Existing information within your Legal Department is a good place.
Step 1- Existing Information: If your Department has handled several of these matters in
recent years, with a good degree of similarity, then you have some reference points, including:
;the work to be performed
;the size of the outside counsel team
;type of resources required