As much is Greg is hungry for free stuff, I am hungry for new technologies that will help ease my pain relative to alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) and related, emerging legal project management (LPM) challenges. So I am pleased to announce a new option on the market that may ease that pain.
Back in the Fall, I had spoken with the ERM Legal Solutions Team and gave them some input on direction their product might take. They listened.
ERM announced their updated offering heading into LegalTech. As I was otherwise committed, I did not attend LegalTech this year, so I requested a web demo after the show. What I saw gave me hope.
One of the challenges of bringing project management (PM) concepts to lawyers is carefully and diplomatically inserting these ideas in to the ways lawyers already practice. I have previously noted that imposing PM at full-force on to a practice would likely end in failure. To that end, ERM’s product is both flexible and highly integrated with other firm systems. You can build highly detailed, hour-by-hour plans, or you can easily go with a fixed fee price, decide what leverage you will use, drop in some time keepers and have a plan in place. The system also connects with your DMS, time and billing, CRM and other applications. This integration is reflective of the thinking that went in to this application. The ERM system is not another silo of knowledge.
On the AFA side, the system can be a quick, easy way to develop a budget. And it can give you a high-level profitability analysis. It also has a template feature, which I typically view as a mixed blessing. Templates are great tools – it’s just that no one ever wants to be the one who builds and maintains them. However, over time, I would at a minimum expect templates to emerge from various budget building efforts.
Admittedly I only saw a brief demo of the ERM system. However, its direction is promising. I plan to keep an eye on this offering and hope to take a more in-depth look at it in the near future.
Note: Ron Friedmann also posted a review on ERM here.