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2 September 2007

Project Management in the Legal Industry

I am writing a thesis on project management and the law. The basic ideas are that the legal industry needs a unifying framework for managing the varied and unique types of client matters they handle and that project management fits the bill.

In the course of my research I have discovered ITLA, the International Legal Technology Association. ITLA are not dealing with the space I am researching. They are the organisation that is helping to mature the subset of the IT industry that services legal firms.

The legal profession is an interesting case study for both IT and project management because it comes with so much history and tradition, and at the same time it's facing an industry wide challenge to modernise and provide faster, cheaper solutions to clients in a more complex environment. That's fine, because banks, gas companies and bookstores have gone through similar challenges.

The Legal industry is different. Law forms are an association of professionals and they seriously resists the typical process engineering and task standardisation that comes with an IT overhaul. And something still has to change.

As with banking, gas companies and bookstores, IT leads the charge to bring project management to the masses. ITLA for example posts a series of white papers, many of which talk about the challenges of IT project management in the context of law firms.

Last month an article was published called "Project Management - Broadening Your Scope."

A summary;

Over the past years, the application of project management fundamentals has firmly set its foot in the door of our member organizations, and with that, project managers are now a part of the IT or administrative staff.

Whether you're just starting in the PM arena, fine-tuning your PM skills, collaborating with vendors or considering a project management office (among other things), you will find answers to your questions and perhaps some new ideas inside.

We gratefully acknowledge our authors for sharing their expertise, knowledge and fresh ideas you can apply to open the door wider.

There are more papers and if you are an IT worker or PM in a law practice you should take a look at the ITLA website.

My research is looking at that next phase; where project management moves into operations management and becomes the default way of dealing with a client's work.