Research conducted by the Ark Group has shown that professional support lawyers (PSLs) and knowledge management (KM) professionals in law firms want to learn more about legal project management (LPM) and take steps to improve their project management skills. Hardly surprising, as such professionals are often at the sharp end of law firm LPM initiatives.
I am pleased to be able to present, at the request of Ark Group, an introductory LPM seminar aimed at law firm PSL and KM staff. Acquiring and developing proficient project management skills is best done (in truth, can only be done) by practice rather than training, but having an understanding and appreciation of key project management concepts, techniques and tools will, hopefully, provide some foundation for practice.
But what to cover during a one day introductory seminar? An overview of the Ark seminar outline as it currently stands:
09:00 Registration and refreshments
09:30 Identifying and meeting challenges for legal service providers
10:10 Introducing Legal Project Management (LPM)
11:00 Coffee break
11:20 LPM concepts
12:20 Networking lunch
13:20 Legal process mapping
14:10 Putting it all together
14:50 Coffee break
15:10 Implementing LPM
16:00 Discussions, questions and wrap up
Further detail can be found on the Ark Group website.
As part of the session on LPM concepts, I plan to cover:
- Traditional project management principles
- Lean processes
- Agile legal service delivery
Given the current popularity of legal process mapping, I thought it useful to include a specific session on that, including an explanation of the distinction between legal process mapping and legal workflow design and development.
I am very aware that a number of important topics relating to LPM do not have their own slot. I am thinking particularly of: team-working, pricing strategies (in particular, how LPM can support alternative fee arrangements) and IT support for LPM initiatives.
- Team-working – productive team-working is essential to any successful project and PSLs and KM staff may benefit from a project-based discussion about team-building, identifying ‘types’ of co-worker and how best to relate to them etc.
- Pricing – my personal view is that PSLs and KM professionals should have an understanding of pricing techniques, including, especially, value pricing. PSLs and KM staff should know where they can add – and demonstrate – value. The folk at Ark however said their research indicated that pricing was of less concern to this particular target audience.
- IT Support – I plan to refer to IT support, but there is not a separate session devoted to it. Topics here could include the use of analytics for benchmarking (and to help support pricing – see above), principles behind workflow development (ie automating standard processes), leveraging existing software typically found in law firms for helping LPM and a consideration of applications designed specifically to support LPM.
You may think that there are other areas which could be added in a day’s introductory seminar of this kind, with the implicit assumption that some of the topics and sessions already planned would need to be cut to accommodate them. I would be really interested to hear from you if you have any views about legal project management training for law firm staff of all kinds. What would you like to see in an introductory LPM course lasting a day?
I have a short questionnaire about this which I hope will help get you thinking. All you need to do is click some check-boxes, although you can also tell me more if you wish by means of a free text reply.
I look forward to hearing from you.