Determine the goals and deliverables for the project.
Establish the parameters within which project will be
Conduct of legal matter
Carry out the project within the established parameters, making
adjustments as required.
Assess the project results and lessons learned after its completion.
Role of project manager
The project manager can serve as both a facilitator and a decision-maker during the course of the
project. The legal project manager’s role includes the following:
•;Upfront planning to define and gain consensus on the scope and required effort.
•;Coordinating resources human, financial and other.
•;Establishing communication mechanisms.
•;Identifying interdependencies between tasks and resources.
•;Managing the work plan and updates.
•;Connecting people with questions to appropriate people with answers.
•;Balancing project scope, time, people and cost to manage quality and hedge risk.
Who should perform this role in legal project management will vary depending on the
organization. Whether the project manager should be a lawyer is an open question. It can be argued
that a lawyer’s understanding of the matter’s substantive requirements and issues can be beneficial
when making judgment calls and balancing priorities. However, most lawyers are not trained in
project management, and arguably, many are predisposed to focus more on exhaustively undertaking
the scope of the project rather than being attuned to related effects on budget, timing or staffing.
Law departments sometimes ask their outside counsel to undertake project management. There may
be questions about how that service is integrated into the billing arrangement, particularly if the
project manager is not a lawyer. As an option, the law department’s operations group can provide
project management capabilities and resources. If the law department doesn’t have a dedicated
operations group, it can look outside the department or tap an existing department member.
Regardless of who undertakes the project management, however, it is best to define the project
manager role on each case and project instead of simply assuming that someone will take it on.