"Managing a legal matter, whether it’s a transaction or a dispute, can be equally as important as executing the actual legal work. Attention to both management and execution will help to ensure that client needs and expectations are met in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. However, recent surveys indicate corporate/in-house counsel are dissatisfied with their outside counsel. Some of the reasons underlying their dissatisfaction (e.g., high fees/costs, lack of responsiveness, and poor communications) suggest that management of legal matters is either done ineffectively or worse, it is not done at all. These business world clients are addressing their dissatisfaction by, among other things, requiring detailed task-based scopes of work, budgets, and schedules, and more frequent and effective communications from their legal service providers.
"Managing a legal matter is fundamentally no different than managing a construction project or a pharmaceutical research and development program. The focus of management activities are directed to planning, executing, controlling, monitoring and closing a required scope of work within a specified time period and within a given budget. Project management professionals often refer to the scope, schedule and budget as the triple constraints of a project. It is this author’s experience that communications should be considered as a fourth and equally important element in managing any project.
"Project management of legal matters [PDF] is concerned with monitoring the work, not with executing the work. Effective and efficient management involves business skills and tools that are different from the legal skills and tools used by the legal professionals who perform the work. This article discusses some practical considerations for developing and managing the scope of work, schedule, budget and communications for legal matters."