• Provide training that encompasses initial guidance, hands-on work, as well as specific
project and ongoing support. Use testing and refresher training to keep skills sharp.
Engaging in these practices will help the law department make project management an
inherent part of the department culture.
[From the ACC Guide to Project Management]
Health insurance provider Medibank has a well-developed
internal legal project management function, which swings into
action on large, complex projects for which the majority of work
is legal. “We then feed external firms into our process,” General
Counsel Mei Ramsay says. The internal project management
office, headed by Sarah Durrell, was stood up in 2014 in order
to handle the legal side of Medibank’s initial public offering. The
word complex seems inadequate: The deal was Australia’s largest
in over a decade, and involved the privatization of a government
entity with all of the bureaucracy one would expect.
“Our offering had to be gold-plated. We had to outperform on every measure,” says Richard
Holbeach, Medibank’s General Manager of Legal and project counsel for the IPO. “Our
company was not very sophisticated in the area of raising capital, and the committee meetings
and board meetings were all-consuming.”
The project management team defined seven discrete work streams, created timelines, handled
scheduling, streamlined reporting, and “provided a huge amount of comfort and confidence
to management and the board,” says Holbeach. In the end, the company was ready to list at
the earliest possible moment the government wanted it to, with all of the necessary signoffs in
place—real evidence of project management success.
Innovation and Collaboration in Matter Management
TELSTRA CORPORATION AND HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS
Telstra Corporation worked with Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), a global law firm, to develop
a collaboration framework that drove significant cost savings, innovation, and productivity.
The team members sought to fundamentally change the approach to legal project management
on complex deals, generating material cost savings.
HSF supported the delivery of Telstra’s largest-ever customer contract, an A$1.6 billion
undertaking that involved parallel negotiations with more than 100 vendors over seven
ACC Value Challenge