Lawyers Managing Projects? Thought it couldn't be done?

Douglas Beckwith
Thursday, March 2, 2023

Straight to the point

  • Fixed fees are here and a new costs regime applies – the costs of litigation will need to be predicted in advance and clients’ budgets managed like never before.
  • Good costs management requires the application of good project management skills and methods to ensure costs are predictable and outturn costs do not exceed the budget.
  • We can show you how to use project management techniques to manage your legal projects efficiently and effectively.

Costs Management - A driver for change

The market is changing and lawyers must adapt.  Clients want more from their legal advisers – they want them to partner with them and to share commercial risks.  To respond effectively, the legal profession must work out how to meet expanding Client requirements often within contracting budgets.  This requires law firms to re-think their approach to service provision and to determine the most cost-effective means of handling Client matters.

Nowhere is this more acutely seen than in the ability to forecast, budget, and manage the costs of litigation.

Wasted Costs Orders are a threat to law firms

Litigation is a project.  It has a starting point, an end point (even if it sometimes uncertain when that is) and in between a host of activities that require to be resourced, costed, communicated upon and otherwise managed.  Lawyers are the new project managers.  Like quantity surveyors, they are now in the position of having to identify resource requirements, develop costings, produce budgets and then ensure they are adhered to!

But there is more to it than that.  Multi track cases often have budgetary and costs implications equivalent to a small building project – sometimes a large one!  Getting things wrong is going to reflect very badly on those managing the process.  And the ultimate sanction is that you may have to pay the bill!

How to avoid "Manhattans"

“Manhattans” are those spikes in the final costs tally that never appeared in the original budget.  There can be all sorts of reasons for this.  But predicting them before they occur comes from good project management and tight costs control.  Proactive case management is the key to achieving out-turn costs that are proportionate to the issues and use of the courts resources.  Legal project management implements this through its ability to control recoverable costs and the actual costs of litigation within acceptable levels.

Clients are no longer prepared to accept the economic risks of legal work.  Applying the linked disciplines of budgeting, cost management and project management can have an immediate effect on Client satisfaction and the bottom line.  It is simply a better way to practice law!

The benefits of our legal project management methodology

We deliver high value capital projects for Clients.  We can help your organisation to design and implement a structured approach to the planning, pricing and management of legal work which, if adhered to, will help provide excellent service to your Clients and add to your profitability.  The benefits of engaging Mensura as your Legal Project Management consultant include:
1.   Our ability to demonstrate the value of applying legal project management to your legal practice;
2.   An explanation of the basic project management principles and how to apply them advantageously to your business;
3.   A copy of our basic legal project management framework for you to adapt and use in your business;
4.   Key tools and techniques that support the framework;
5.   Resource management and portfolio management tools;
6.   Practical advice, assistance and training on how to develop and implement a legal project management culture within your firm.
Contact us to see how Legal Project Management can help you.  Our methods are practical, useful and different.


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