Litigation Support Tip of the Night

November 5, 2017

Michael Quartararo's Project Management in Electronic Disocvery: An Introduction to Core Principles of Legal Project Management and Leadership in eDisocvery, is widely regarded as one of the best guides available for PMs.    Here's my first installment in an outline of the work.

Chapter One:  The Legal Process: Understanding the Body of Work in the Legal Industry

A. Project Management in Legal Business

    1. Work is not predictable and precise. 

         a. Influenced by judges and opposing parties. 

         b. Rules are subject to interpretation.

         c. Deadlines are in flux. 

    2. Adversarial process not governed by standardized methodologies.

    3. Partners, general counsel, and judges not focused on project management. 

         a. PMs don't have full authority to make decisions. 

     4. Legal business is a service industry 

          a. Deliverables are not physical, and may just be advice

     5. Efficiency is not a Cornerstone of Legal Practice

          a. Increasingly more scrutiny of expenses and billable hours. 

     6. Disruptive Technologies 

          a. encourage methods of lawyers to be rethought and service commoditized. 

B. Understanding the Phases of the Legal Process

     1. Project Manager Skills

          a. Risk Management

          b. Scheduling

          c. Cost Control

          d. Communication Skills

       2. Litigation Phases

            a. Pleading (may be in form of subpoena or indictment).

            b. Motion practice

            c. Discovery

            d. Summary judgment / pretrial motions

            e. Trial

            f. Appeal

C. Law Firm and Legal Department Structure

       1. Equity partners - bring in business

        2. Leadership committee; managing partner. 

        3. Administrative partners for financing; staffing; etc.. 


D. Challenge to the Law Firm Business Model

      1. Corporate legal departments are doing more of the work at the same time their budgets are shrinking. 

      2. Clients expect the latest technology tools to be used.

      3. Alternative fee arrangements being employed. 

      4. Primary motivation for adopting new project management techniques has to be client satisfaction. 

      5. Only a few firms have had success integrating project management into the practice of law. 

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Sean O'Shea has more than 15 years of experience in the litigation support field with major law firms in New York and San Francisco.   He is an ACEDS Certified eDiscovery Specialist and a Relativity Certified Administrator.

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