Notes On The New Year – 2014

by Pamela Woldow
Contact

A young American follower of Shinryu Suzuki, the famed founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, was bewildered by the Master’s abstruse, fractured-English lectures. He finally asked Suzuki if he could summarize the essence of Zen Buddhism in a single paragraph. After pausing for thought, Suzuki smiled at his student.  “Everything changes,” he said.

Welcome to the Land of Change in 2014…and Beyond

Followers of this blog know that I have tended to focus on the continuing evolution of Legal Project Management (LPM), a discipline reshaping the face of legal service delivery. 2014 will see the continued acceleration of trends that are fundamentally changing how law firms and legal departments think about and implement LPM. First of all, because LPM has achieved baseline acceptance and entered the common vernacular, firms will talk less about whether to embrace LPM, but more about how to best embrace it. The pace of change will soon pass foot-draggers by.

New Game, New Players, New Equipment

Second, the two-party system – law firms and clients – is rapidly giving way to a matrixed service delivery environment that includes a bevy of new and specialized contributors, most notably legal process outsourcing (LPO) firms here and abroad. Clients and law firms are having new kinds of conversations centering around the question, “Will all the legal work be done in the firm?”  Increasingly, the answer will be no; savvy clients now are now partnering with a variety of vendors wherever their use can help manage or cut costs.  This requires law firms to get comfortable with collaborating with outside contributors and vendors they may not fully control (and obviously may not bill for, either). The impact on both planning and profitability is going to be significant, but there is little choice: we are well into a change or die era of legal service delivery.

Third, the rise of new types of service vendors is being paralleled by a dizzying array of new LPM-specific software, platforms, products, dashboards and tool, both to help introduce LPM and, where appropriate, to enable enormously sophisticated project planning and management capability. These products will take some time to shake out in a competitive marketplace, but already best practices are getting better and new LPM tools are vastly improved over prior generations.

Shift to “Vertical” Training

Fourth, LPM implementation and training are changing direction and content. Large-scale introductory-level “horizontal” LPM training programs are giving way to more “granular” skills-building workshops targeted to particular clients, client teams or even particular matters or engagements. This “vertical” approach to training will continue to trend toward deep dives, rather than skimming the surface. Learning optimal project planning, staffing, and workflow means that the line between legal project management (LPM) and legal process improvement (LPI) will blur, and the two disciplines will join at the hip.

The corollary to this trend is that not every lawyer, paralegal or other time-biller will (or should) receive LPM training, at least not initially. Right now, LPM implementation is best focused on those who need it the most (because of client demands for increased value) or want it the most.

In sum, by this time next year legal service delivery will have become less firm-driven, more client-driven, more collaborative and more complicated.  More players will contend for a piece of the pie, and more tasks are likely to be taken out of the hands of lawyers and assigned to innovative forms of service delivery as clients become still more vocal in their demands for value, efficiency and predictability.

Some Personal Notes

To align my own consulting work with these trends, in 2014 I will be shifting my practice away from large-scale LPM rollouts and training and toward providing substantive advice and counsel to particular practice groups, client teams and individual lawyers. If my clients are turning to deep dives, I intend to dive with them, advising both law firms and corporate clients on a constellation of LPM-related issues: law firm and vendor selection, alternative fee arrangements, effective management of specific engagements, and business development.

Finally, you also should note a change in our At the Intersection  heading, three small but important words, “With Doug Richardson.” Doug is a former large firm litigator and federal prosecutor, and for two decades he was an award-winning Dow Jones columnist. Regular readers of this blog have seen Doug’s wit and wisdom in numerous guest posts, and Doug and I collaborated effectively in our new ABA-sponsored book, Legal Project Management in an Hour for Lawyers.  As Edge International colleagues, we have designed and delivered numerous LPM programs worldwide, and he knows his LPM stuff, particularly insofar as communications and collaboration are concerned. Accordingly, I have asked Doug if he will contribute his perspective, insight and distinctive voice to At the Intersection on a regular basis.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Pamela Woldow, Legal Leadership | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Pamela Woldow
Contact
more
less

Legal Leadership on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!