Helping you improve your project management capability.
Antony Smith – Director, Legal Project Management Ltd
Even as a young solicitor I seemed to gravitate more to organisational improvement rather than direct client work. I have always been fascinated about how the blend of individual skills, process execution and organisational support come together to realise a vision. In fact I must confess to being something of a frustrated film director at heart!
Lawyers are clearly being challenged to deliver legal services in new ways. Applying project management principles to legal service delivery allows lawyers to meet these challenges.
I have a background in law, project management and legal I.T. By putting these together, I help lawyers improve the delivery of their legal services. I help them realise their vision of excellence.
Creating more effective law firms with project management
The U.K’s largest law firms now employ full-time legal project managers, working alongside their lawyer colleagues. I have for a long time believed that legal project management is applicable to all law firms, not only the very largest, and all lawyers. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) agrees.
In its Statement of Competence for Solicitors, the SRA describes many tasks expected to be performed by all solicitors in terms of project management. For example, the Statement refers to solicitors ‘meeting timescales, resource requirements and budgets’ (for more please see Section D of the Competence Statement). This sounds like a high level definition of ‘a project’ to me.
Developing lawyers’ project management skills is just one aspect of creating an effective project based legal service organisation. I believe all of the following are required:
1. Tools – ranging from document templates to software applications.
2. Methods and Processes – standard matter project plans supported by lower level processes and activities.
3. Skills – of both lawyers and support staff, working together as productive teams.
4. Organisational Project Maturity – to help ensure that the project delivery capability of the firm continues to grow.
The ultimate aim is not to become better at legal project management per se, but for lawyers to become more effective and clients to become happier with the service they receive. Happier clients are more likely to pay their bills quicker, instruct their law firm with more work and provide referrals.
My professional journey
I am a solicitor by training, with postgraduate qualifications in law, computing and project management. I am a Legal Project Practitioner (LPP) and a founder member of the International Institute for Legal Project Management (IILPM) where I sit on its Global Advisory Council. I am also qualified in the Prince II project management methodology (practitioner level) and I am a full member of the Association for Project Management (APM) and the Project Management Institute (PMI).
I have a record of successful project delivery in all kinds of legal environments: solicitors firms (Pinsent Masons, Berrymans Lace Mawer), academia (School of Law, King’s College London) and legal software development organisations. I enjoyed working as a Strategic Project Manager at Axxia / LexisNexis for more than 10 years.
Since 2012 I have been an independent consultant, providing project management services to law firms. I also write regularly about legal project management. PDFs of some published articles can be downloaded from here, and you can find my blog site’s home page here and subscribe to my blog posts here.
What am I like to work with?
People tend to describe me as being an enthusiastic, honest, hardworking individual with a sense of humour. I come from Liverpool originally which may help explain the latter. I am an objective and considered thinker, with a preference for basing decisions on facts followed by thoughtful analysis. My default mode is to turn initiatives into plans with objectives, and this is perhaps why I have also been called a ‘completion expert’. I have over 30 years experience of working in the legal services market and I understand what it takes for individuals and organisations to succeed in that market.
This understanding underpins my legal project management training. My training reflects the need for effective delivery of legal services, as practised in the real world by solicitors, barristers, in-house lawyers, government lawyers, cost lawyers, professional support lawyers, paralegals and business development staff. I really enjoy running legal project management training courses and feedback from students shows they enjoy it too. My courses are comprehensive, intensive and at times challenging. They are great learning experiences and we all enjoy a few laughs along the way.
“The three days achieved exactly what I was looking for – to pull together various bits of disparate knowledge and thinking, and to reassemble them into something more structured and coherent.”
“Incredibly useful and informative. Well structured and kept me engaged, whilst progressing at a good pace. Thank you!”
“Antony is a fantastic trainer, highly knowledgeable, very intelligent and with a great sense of humour which made the training very pleasant.”
“Antony is an expert in his field. Highly recommended”.
"An intensive and informative course providing a solid grounding for would be legal project managers."
"This is an excellent course that will provide you with all the necessary tools and information to integrate legal project management into your business".
“I would recommend this course to anyone interested in legal project management: informative, engaging and thought-provoking.”
“I feel confident I am leaving training with a sound understanding of the LPM methodology and how to implement it within the firm”.
"Fantastic course, both practical and technical".
"Excellent course, well delivered. The right level of coverage of core project management methodologies before moving on to legal project management".
“I found the course very informative…I can’t wait to put it into good practice!”
“A very informative course held in a collaborative environment.”
“As a project manager from outside the legal industry this course was a great introduction to project management in law.”
“We engaged Antony to deliver a series of seminars about Legal Project Management. Feedback from members who attended was overwhelmingly positive about both the content and presenter.”
“Antony’s course is really well run and delivered. A good mix of teaching styles: lecturing and interactive workshops / discussion points.”
"Excellent interactive course with lots of practical examples and tips that can be implemented immediately".
"An excellent training program for anyone who wants to learn about legal project management".
“Thought provoking and interesting. I look forward to putting it into practice and seeing the inevitable changes within the industry”.
"Enlightening and useful course, mixing formality with the light touch of interaction within the workshops. The course has encouraged me to want to learn more".
“I would definitely recommend the course for a detailed overview of legal project management and for upskilling”.
“I really enjoyed Antony’s course. The concepts were well explained and illustrated with interesting practical examples.”
“Antony is a smart and open-minded coach who clearly enjoys interaction with his students and I would be very happy to work with him again.”
"Excellent delivery of an innovative course. Antony showed flexibility and responsiveness to student needs. The workshops and exercises helped better understanding of the project management concepts presented".
"A course that provides a huge amount of insight and information but also makes you think very hard about how you do things and how you could do them better".
“Antony is knowledgeable and his passion for the topic was evident. The course itself has great content with lots of information, and I loved the book of templates”.
“I thought the course was really good – I’ve covered some areas before, but it was great to have those areas refreshed and there was plenty that was new.”
“Antony provided training for my team on Legal Project Management. I highly recommend Antony’s training.”
“Antony is a pleasure to work with and he has been a real asset to our business as we invest in further technology for the future benefit of our practice.”
“Antony has a strong understanding of both the legal process and IT systems. This enables him to produce very compelling solutions helping law firms to get real advantage and ROI.”
“If you want to learn about the opportunities and challenges associated with implementing legal project management and legal process improvement, I’d recommend a half day session with Antony as an excellent starting point.”
“Antony and I share similar views in relation to the application of IT to the law and he has real world experience of what the day job entails which informs his views in relation to IT.”
“Antony is particularly good at looking at market and product ideas which lie slightly outside of business as usual – he is a thorough researcher and passionate advocate of his ideas and proposals.”
“Introducing workflow systems into numerous departments and offices throughout the firm presented challenges on a number of fronts. Antony did an excellent job of managing these projects.”
How Can I Help You?
If You Would Like To Discuss Any Aspect of Legal Project Management
Please Contact Me.