In a recent blog post, Jeffrey Brandt makes the point that we should drop legal from legal project management (LPM) because it is driving him batty (or something like that). In the end, we all agree that project management is a proven discipline that adds a lot of value. I’d like to thank Jeffrey for continuing the legal project management dialogue. I find it interesting that he focused on semantics when talking about prefixing legal to project management. After spending nearly half of my life working in the legal industry, I believe that much time is spent in legal dealing with semantics, so it seems fitting here as well.
Legal project management is a subset of project management, and yes, LPM is a “marketing” ploy to get better adoption within the law firm. In other industries, we do not see such prefixes. For example, I’m not aware of a push for the term software design project management (SDPM) in order to gain adoption, because the owners of the software design companies already understand the value of project management and have already embraced it. In this case, adoption is not optional. Within the legal space, this is not the case. We are seeing some adoption, but it is slow.
LPM is a label we use to describe a defined process. This is very similar to the way that law firms use areas of practice to market expertise. This practice is not unique to law firms, it applies to most businesses. Call it marketing or labeling, in the end it is an effort to distinguish your product or services from others. If adding legal as a prefix to project management creates a tipping point for adoption, then I’m all for it.