Why Be a Lighthouse When You Can Be a Candle?
Lupl recently hosted the “Illuminating the Path with LPM webinar, featuring a panel of experts from across the legal field. The panelists included Ericka Davis, Legal Project Manager at EDP Renewables, Trisha Wright, Project Coordinator at DecisionQuest, and India Preston, Director of Platforms Solutions at Lupl. Guiding this discussion was Kalina Leopold, Lupl’s Director of Growth.
The webinar covered three key topics: exploring how legal professionals already integrate LPM into their daily routines (but may not know it), strategies for leveling up one’s LPM skills, and the significant impact of LPM on profitability. The panelists then shared practical best practices that can be implemented immediately. The session concluded with an engaging Q&A session, allowing attendees to raise questions to the panelists and delve deeper into LPM. Here is a recap of the conversation:
How You May Already Be Using LPM
The first topic discussed in the webinar focused on recognizing how LPM principles are already at play within various legal contexts. The panelists highlighted that anyone within the legal industry who invests time in creating and improving processes is essentially thinking like a project manager. LPM has become increasingly important as clients seek cost-conscious and efficient legal services. By applying project management principles to legal work, firms and departments can enhance efficiencies, reduce costs, and ultimately provide better outcomes for their clients.
How You Can Level Up Your LPM
The next topic delved into strategies for enhancing LPM skills and capabilities. The panelists kicked off the discussion by highlighting key distinctions between standard project management and legal project management. Ericka emphasized that while project management is a universal concept applicable to various industries, LPM requires adapting general project management principles into specific techniques tailored for the legal sector, using specialized management tools, and collaborating among legal professionals and various departments to achieve project goals.
Hopefully by implementing and applying project management principles to legal work, law firms, law departments, ALSPs can improve efficiencies, reduce costs and deliver better outcomes for their stakeholders and clients.Ericka Davis
Trisha added that legal professionals, including lawyers, often perform legal project management tasks without formal terminology or processes. However, a more structured and nuanced approach is needed to optimize these practices. This involves implementing change management strategies, embracing softer skills, and being flexible, key skill sets when it comes to managing legal projects that attorneys may not have.
India underscored the importance of Legal Project Managers by sharing how, when setting up LPM teams for law firms, she saw opportunities to bring a new perspective and make processes more effective.
The panelists further highlighted the different skill sets that are needed with legal projects. As LPMs continue to increase their knowledge and upskill, they transition from being a candle with a smaller impact to a lighthouse, acting as a guiding light. India noted that individuals can make this progression in their career by continually asking ‘why’ when it comes to processes and challenging the status quo.
Don’t be content to take on old ways of working. You’re taking on someone else’s bad habits. Innovate – make it new, make it yours. Ask a thousand questions, be curious. Question it, doubt it, break it up and put it back together again.India Preston
How LPM Affects Profitability
This segment explored LPM’s impact on profitability within law firms and legal service providers. The discussion revolved around the concept that improving LPM practices leads to increased efficiency, which, in turn, enhances profitability. India emphasized that improved legal project management will lead directly to higher efficiencies. With more experience, LPMs can have more control over the work process and take on more work without a corresponding increase in stress.
The panelists underscored that efficient LPM practices enable professionals to charge competitive service rates and reduce write-offs. Legal organizations can make informed decisions that drive profitability by closely tracking metrics, analyzing data, and leveraging technology. Overall, there is a need for continuous learning and the integration of LPM principles into legal workflows to stay competitive and profitable in the evolving legal landscape.
We’re not just doing this just to create more work. We’re trying to get to where we’re highly efficient. Where if you work for a law firm or ALSP, we’re able to bring in more clients, take on more complex work.Trisha Wright
The panelists concluded the webinar by sharing their best practices in LPM. With their wealth of experience in this space, the panelists each offered valuable insights and actionable tips to the audience.
First, Trisha urged the audience to streamline their approach by picking one project management system and dedicating their efforts to it. She emphasized that whether it’s implementing a sophisticated software solution or something as simple as maintaining a well-organized Excel spreadsheet, consistency is key.
Ericka emphasized the critical role of effective communication as her recommendation. She outlined three key points: clarifying project objectives and scope early to ensure alignment, using project kickoff meetings to set expectations and roles, and regularly communicating with clients, preventing last-minute issues and setbacks by addressing problems early in the project. She highlighted the essential nature of open and consistent communication in successful legal project management.
India’s best practice recommendation centered on embracing discomfort as a pathway to growth and innovation. She encouraged not settling for comfort as it often indicates missed opportunities and urged the audience to avoid adopting outdated methods and instead innovate and personalize their approaches. She also emphasized the importance of curiosity, questioning, and experimentation, encouraging individuals to break things down and reconstruct them.
This webinar provided invaluable insights into how LPM can transform practices and workflows in the legal industry. With expert panelists like Trisha, Ericka, and India sharing their knowledge, we explored key concepts such as differentiation between standard and legal project management, the impact of LPM on profitability, and powerful best practices.
In October, Lupl will be featured in an ILTA Product Briefing, discussing how we’re transforming task management! Whether you’re part of a small or large law firm, Lupl streamlines tasks, deadlines, and collaboration. Our matter-specific templates automate workflows, making legal projects more efficient. Elevate your firm’s performance across practice areas – register for our next webinar today!