As a result of client pressures to provide greater value at a lower cost, many lawyers have begun applying proven project management principles to their practices. While the general concepts of project management are the same in every profession, tactics must be adapted to fit the unique nature of legal services and relationships, including opposing counsel whose “scorched earth” tactics may purposely create roadblocks to efficiency, and court calendars and client schedules that are outside a lawyer’s control. This new certification for Legal Project Managers is designed for practicing lawyers with at least ten years of experience, and will differ substantially from certifications offered for general project management knowledge.
This program is built around two self-paced modules that can be completed in one to six months. The first is a customized review of the project management principles that are most critical in the legal environment, and the second applies these principles to an actual matter from each lawyer’s practice.
It was developed by LegalBizDev founder Jim Hassett, author of nine books including the Legal Project Management Quick Reference Guide: Tools and Templates to Increase Efficiency, and of the award winning blog Legal Business Development (at www.jimhassett.com). Hassett is a frequent speaker at law firms and at bar associations (including the New York City Bar, New York State Bar, and Massachusetts Bar), and has been one of the most influential figures in the movement to adapt project management principles to the legal profession.
“I first became aware of the importance of this area when I interviewed chairmen and senior partners at 37 of the largest law firms in the US in the LegalBizDev Survey of Alternative Fees. They consistently reported that when they moved away from the billable hour, project management became the key to profitability,” Hassett said. “But the discipline of legal project management is quite new, and both law firms and their clients are looking for standards. Given my company’s 25 years of experience developing a variety of certification programs for clients ranging from large law firms to FAA air traffic controllers, it seemed an obvious step for us. However, I did not put certification at the top of my list until recently, when an 800-lawyer firm asked me to design a formal certification program for two senior partners.”
In November, the program will be fine-tuned by the LegalBizDev Certification Advisory Board, which includes lawyers and project managers from a number of large law firms. The first group of lawyers will begin certification on December 1, 2010.
LegalBizDev (www.legalbizdev.com) offers training, coaching, webinars, publications and more to help law firms increase profitability by improving project management, business development and alternative fees.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Jim Hassett, contact Elisabeth Westner at 617-217-2578, 800-49-TRAIN, or firstname.lastname@example.org.