In fact, Lanzone quotes one customer as saying that if they had just listened to HPE, they
would have saved five months and A$200,000.
“One thing HPE legal does well is encourage people to think, Is there a faster, better way of
doing things? Many projects are sponsored by the bottom and taken up by the top,” he says.
LEGAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Put simply, legal project management is the deliberate planning, budgeting, communication,
and review that yields the sound management of legal matters. In order to provide the
necessary direction, continuity, and coordination to these matters, the legal department must
embrace project management. While many legal departments may have in place some of the
components of project management—matter budgeting, for example – typically they haven’t
integrated these components into comprehensive project management, or are just beginning
to do so in limited areas. The need for project management first became apparent to law
departments with two developments: the desire for value-based fee (VBF) arrangements and
the proliferation of e-discovery projects.
Project management has a number of benefits. By creating a disciplined approach to
legal work, project management results in an improved use of resources and an improved
performance against budgets. Because tasks are clearly assigned, it reduces the duplication
of effort. The existence of a defined, detailed plan provides the context for team members
to understand expectations and outcomes. Project management techniques can help
law departments determine which matters are appropriate for VBFs. Ultimately, project
management results in more effective planning, cost control, resource allocation, and
appropriate risk management throughout the duration of a case/project, providing project
team members with the structured tools to make deliberate, fact-based decisions.
Legal project management is most likely to be successful if implemented in this phased
1. Scope: Determining the goals and deliverables for the project;
2. Schedule/People/Budget: Establishing the parameters within which the project will be
3. Conduct of Legal Matter: Carrying out the project within the established parameters,
making adjustments as required; and,
4. Review: Assessing the project results and lessons learned after its completion.
Start by “scoping” the matter – articulating the goals and being clear about what’s in and what’s
out (i.e. what does not have to be done). Then, establish the parameters within which the work
will be accomplished. This includes the schedule, people, and budget. Once launched, regular
meetings and reports ensure the project stays on track, and improvement in future projects
comes with conducting quick reviews upon the completion of each matter.