Why is Law Firm Project Management still so hard in 2023?
In today’s ultra-competitive market, law firms are in a constant battle to provide superior service while cutting costs and boosting profit. It’s no surprise that legal project management has grown in importance.
In an attempt to streamline and speed up processes, many law firms are looking to legal project managers to save the day. Organizations like the International Institute of Legal Project Management offer training courses designed to equip people in the application of legal project management principles.
But adding yet another person to the mix often has the opposite effect than intended, making project management processes even more complicated and bloated. You could say that too many cooks spoil the legal broth. What’s more, legal project managers often have little-to-no legal experience (crazy, eh?).
So what’s the solution? Instead of parachuting more people in to manage projects, the answer lies elsewhere: legal technology. The right tech has the power to fundamentally change the way your team communicates, collaborates, and serves clients, by making your processes more streamlined and efficient.
In this article, we’ll run down some of the challenges that come with legal project management — and how you can solve them using new, transformative legal technology.
Disconnected communication and collaboration
As a lawyer, what skill do you rely on most on any given day? Applying the theory you learnt at law school? Sure, it’s essential to know the letter of the law. But when it comes to law firm project management and know-how management, collaboration and communication are key. And at the moment, they’re disconnected.
Despite what you were taught at law school, legal isn’t an individual sport. Legal matter management brings together multiple people both inside and outside your team, requiring you to:
- Assign tasks to colleagues within a matter checklist
- Communicate with outside counsel
- Answer questions and keep clients in the loop
- Track task progress, request follow-ups, and tick off completed tasks.
All of these things require effective communication and collaboration to run smoothly. But in a world where outdated, ill-fitting tech and unclear processes are still the norm, the life blood of law firm project management — effective communication and collaboration — can seem virtually impossible.
This damages legal teams’ ability to manage projects effectively, which in turn impacts the overall success of a law firm. One study, for example, found that organizations that promote and enable collaborative working are five times more likely to be high-performing than those that don’t.1
Lawyers need to collaborate, but it’s not always clear who they’re supposed to talk to and how to get hold of them. Lawyers also need to share documents and information, but the tools they use make it needlessly cumbersome to do so. All of this wastes valuable time and resources. You get the picture. And if the tools used for collaboration aren’t up to scratch, this makes it harder still…
Legal technology and tools that lag behind
Sure, a bad workman blames his tools. But on the flip side, bad tools make it hard — or even impossible — to be a good workman. In legal, bad tools are one of the main reasons why teams struggle to get on top of project management. The same goes for good tools that are disconnected.
A disunited tech stack
Legal teams often use a huge number of tools to get their job done. According to a recent study, 45% of respondents stated that they used five to ten different technologies to support the legal process, while 30% claimed to use more than 10!2
Manually jumping between this many apps is time-consuming, mentally draining, and needlessly complicated. But more than that, it also represents a security risk. With multiple separate apps, people are moving documents and other sensitive information from one platform to another, increasing the risk of a law firm data breach. This also makes it more likely that documents get lost or misplaced, which further hampers collaboration.
Often, these tools are essential to effective project planning and management — whether it’s communications tools like Slack or WhatsApp, document management tools, task management tools, or billing tools. The problem is that they’re scattered and separate from one another.
Sprawling tech stacks are problematic enough even when the tools themselves are good. But when legal teams rely heavily on substandard tools, project management becomes unnecessarily challenging.
Take email, for example. Email is how the majority lawyers still ask for status updates, how they check in with clients, collaborate with outside counsel, send sensitive documents, set people tasks… and so on. It’s used for pretty much everything. But it’s clunky, ineffective, and not always secure.
Despite these obvious drawbacks, email remains the go-to communication tool for many law firms, with lawyers spending on average 66% of their day working with emails.3 Crazier still, 53% of lawyers don’t use a dedicated collaboration tool at all.4 It’s no surprise law firm project management is still so hard when collaboration tools aren’t used by most lawyers.
This is just another example of legal teams using tools that weren’t designed with legal work in mind. (Don’t get us started on Excel… ). While these aren’t bad tools themselves, they weren’t designed to solve the unique challenges that law teams face.
You can unite your tech stack and bring all those disparate tools together, but if they’re the wrong tools in the first place, you’ll struggle to work, communicate, and collaborate effectively.
Bringing about a transformation in legal technology
While the issues we’ve outlined so far in this article continue to hamstring the legal industry, things are changing.
A new breed of technology platforms is bringing legal into the 21st century, enabling legal teams to unite their tools in one central hub while enhancing communication and collaboration. The result is simplified and streamlined legal project management.
Lupl, a legal project management tool designed by lawyers, for lawyers, is leading this revolution with a range of powerful features, including:
- Matter templates: Save time and reduce risk by accessing a growing range of ready-made matter templates, designed by our vibrant community of legal experts. Alternatively, you can submit a template idea to our community or build your own custom template.
- Assign tasks and review dates: With outdated or ill-fitting tools, the process of assigning tasks, inputs, and approvals can be a nightmare. Lupl enables you to assign tasks within matters and offers automatic chasing capabilities, giving you full visibility of who’s doing what and when.
- Lupl Pins: With our browser extension, you can quickly pin anything you’re researching to a matter in Lupl — so no more copy-pasting research into Word, Google docs, or email. You can then easily add descriptions and share information with team members.
- Unite your tech stack: With integrations for Slack, WhatsApp, Asana, and many more, Lupl brings together your entire legal tech stack in one central place. And with open APIs, you can integrate Lupl with whatever tools you use. So no more jumping between multiple tools and platforms. This also reduces the risk of security breaches, creating a safer, easier environment for legal teams to operate.
Lupl is designed to transform the way legal professionals work — and by extension the delivery of legal services — regardless of their level of experience. If you’re a new lawyer with little project management experience, Lupl helps you get to grips with this side of the job.
And if you’ve been project managing your entire career, Lupl makes it easier than ever to get stuff done. All of this leads to:
- Increased efficiency and process improvement
- Better communication and collaboration
- Improved knowledge sharing and access to information
- Enhanced project management and delivery, meaning quicker and better service for your clients.
Making legal project management work
If you’re wondering why law firm project management is still so hard in 2023, fear not — it doesn’t have to be.
With a legal project management tool like Lupl, you can bring together your legal tech stack in an intuitive, coherent way, enabling effective communication and collaboration both internally and externally. Like a great team, the platform becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
What’s more, Lupl is incredibly easy to set up. You’ll be up and running in under a minute (seriously!), so you can start managing legal projects more efficiently without delay.
If you’d like to see first-hand how Lupl could transform the way you manage legal projects, get in touch today and book a demo.