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


Image [cc] – ANDRA Drag Racing

By now it is obvious there will be no return to the glory days of an ever-expanding legal market and steadily rising hourly rates.  Legal Project Management, in its earliest incarnation, awakened many firms to the need for better project planning and greater control over budgets. But it also put a heavy burden on partners to ensure delivery of services at an agreed upon price without providing them any mechanism to control the process.

The second generation of Legal Project Management, by incorporating task management and monitoring and control mechanisms, now gives the partner a more effective way to deliver services on time and within budget.  LPM 2.0 makes it possible to catch problems as they are happening not weeks after they’ve already occurred.  It improves communication with clients by being inclusive of the client and making the end-to-end process as transparent as possible. This gives clients an opportunity to have meaningful and contextually relevant discussions with their attorney, greatly increasing the level of trust between them.

In shifting from a time management paradigm, in which attorney hours are often captured days or weeks after the work has been completed, to a task management paradigm, where pre-assigned tasks are checked off as the work is done, LPM 2.0 leverages technology to provide contextually appropriate support resources to attorneys at the precise moment that they are needed. This leads to a better use of resources, time, money, and ultimately to a better understanding of the legal process for both the client and the attorney.

Legal Project Management in its more complete form, incorporating all three stages: Planning and Budgeting; Execution; and Monitoring and Controlling, provides many benefits to clients, to attorneys, and to firms. By far the most important benefit to everyone is a more consistent, repeatable, and continually improving practice of law.

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Photo of Ryan McClead Ryan McClead

Ryan is Principal at Sente Advisors, a legal technology consultancy specializing in innovation strategy and cross-platform solutions and support.  He has been an evangelist, advocate, consultant, and creative thinker in Legal Technology for more than 15 years. In 2015, he was named a FastCase 50 recipient, and in 2018, he was elected a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. In past lives, he was an Innovation Architect, Knowledge Manager, a Systems Analyst, a Fashion Merchandiser, and Theater Composer, among other things.