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30 May 2007

Project Managing the Law

Project management is a knowledge base and skill set that can be applied across many industries. Today only some have embraced it.

The latest to sit up and take note of the benefits that Project Management has to offer seems to be the legal industry.

The push comes from people who work in the legal industry on IT projects, and some lawyers who have a previous career as a project manager of some sort. Most of the information you will find if you search the topic is a dot point on a job description or maybe a sentence on a blog.

Significantly, there is a pull from the industry for project management as well. While the academics and thought leaders don’t seem to have named it yet they are searching for a framework to “pull it all together.” The reason for this is that the legal profession is becoming increasingly more complex.

For a start the amount of legislation is exponentially increasing. Add to this the increasing complexity of international and globalising trade, across multiple jurisdictions, the greater stakes that litigants are playing for and the more complex organisations who are parties to contracts and disputes, and you start to get the picture.

One of project management’s main benefits is its ability to manage complexity and uncertainty and that’s exactly what today’s legal matters are about.

I raise this topic as I heve been a director of a legal practice and we have seen a need for applying project management principles to the work we do. It enables legal practitioners to manage the client through the process more effectively and also yields good results for both us and our clients.

Over the next few months I am doing a thesis looking at how project management is complementary to legal practice management. I will probably publish a number of posts on the topic as I go. I hope you are interested and I hope some lawyers read this and get some useful insights.

Comments, as always, are welcome.