Legal Project Management (“LPM”) is a better way for lawyers and clients to work together, as compared with the vast dynamic that exists between attorneys and their clients as I write this in late 2013.
In what I call “the old school model of delivery of legal services” (see below graphic), because initial assessment is expensive, lawyers tend to do less of it. Less in-depth initial assessment necessarily leads to a lawyer and a client with a lesser understanding of the issues in the case, and a lesser understanding of the meaningful choices that exist. Less in-depth initial assessment also means that more of the assessment is done simultaneously with the execution, and, thus:
• things take longer
• there are more surprises
• it is harder to meet deadlines, and
• it is harder to stay within a budget.
Further, because the client was offered less choice, he has a smaller role in deciding on a course of action. Therefore, the client accepts less responsibility for the ultimate outcome of such action. If the outcome is not one expected by and/or welcomed by the client, then tension develops between lawyer and client. Under the old-school approach, the client becomes a necessary evil, gets updates grudgingly, and is not viewed as a partner in the legal project.
In Itkowitz PLLC’s Legal Project Management system, the case is comprehended as a series of manageable stages (or “Scopes of Work”) For each Scope of Work there is a cycle of:
• Client Choice
• Execution, and
After an Outcome is reached, the information gathered during the Scope of Work feeds right back into the next stage of the case, and Assessment begins all over again for the next Scope of Work.
With Legal Project Management (see below graphic), the Assessment phase is in-depth. By focusing the client and the firm on information gathering, risk assessment, and critical thinking from the inception of each stage, the client is better able to make choices. Thereafter, in the execution phase there is more room for allocating resources, budgeting, cost control, and deadline management. The client is, thereafter, not surprised by the outcome of the Scope of Work and owns the results, because the client is making educated, informed choices. Again, after an Outcome is reached, the information gathered during the Scope of Work feeds right back into the next stage of the case, and Assessment begins all over again for the next Scope of Work. With the Legal Project Management approach, there is communication at every phase, and lots of client involvement.
Labels: Ch. 02 - LPM is a Better Way