LPM - Where the Rubber Meets the Road - Part 2 of 5

This post is the second part of a whitepaper written by Scott Preston and Ryan McClead. The full paper can be downloaded here.

The Tipping Point

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There is no longer any doubt that the legal market has fundamentally changed in recent years. Every firm felt the weight of their clients’ demands and responded in whatever way they were able: cutting rates, cutting expenses, making promises, and often begging for work. We believe we, as an industry, have reached a tipping point where client demands for better price predictability, reduction of risk, better communications, and an overall transparency of service will require a systematic and consistent approach to providing legal services. Firms that choose to continue rely only on customer loyalty and brand recognition will begin to lose out to those who open up the process to their clients and embrace the greater consistency and predictability of LPM.

However, LPM is not simply a tool that improves the client experience. It can also ensure that partners needs are more consistently met as well. Partners are concerned with many of the same things they always have been: How to get new business?; How to make the client happy so they’ll return?; How to limit risk to themselves and the firm?; and ultimately, How to make a profit doing it? Legal Project Management addresses both client and partner needs.

Robert Brunson, a partner at Nelson Mullins who has been using Microsoft Project to manage complex litigation for more than ten years, provided his view on using Legal Project Management:
“LPM provides a framework of accountability, transparency, predictability and ultimately less cost.  By creating a plan at the outset, client and counsel are forced to consider the many different paths and outcomes of a particular piece of litigation, including consideration of staffing alternatives such as virtual law firms or offshoring in advance of the work, which could potentially lend itself to these alternative staffing options.  This dialogue often leads to a better engagement by the client in important details early on, details that can be the seeds of unwanted surprises which so often frustrate clients and sour the professional relationship.”  
While the points illustrated above are obviously not the only points of concern between a partner and his or her client, they are central to every engagement and are the points most frequently discussed by General Counsel. Meeting the price is important, but more important is the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with a client about the progress of their matter.  All of the points and discussions outlined above are inter-dependent and when done correctly lead to trust.  

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