March 2, 2015 | Peggy Gruenke | Practice Management Consultant | ABA Legal TechShow Speaker 2015
Project Management = Matter Management
Project Management is quite the buzzword these days. The ABA recently published a new book, The Power of Legal Project Management, which has resulted in a number of articles and new CLE programs related to this topic. Legal Project Management is a very broad and deep topic, (the book has 517 pages!), the focus of this article is to create the mindset that legal project management is nothing more that matter management. I’ll explain the basic components of matter management and how it can bring a competitive advantage to your firm.
While Legal Project Management (LPM) has been adopted by most larger firms, a new trend is developing where smaller firms are looking to improve profitability, billing realizations and gain a competitive advantage by designing and using matter management tools. The practice areas best fit for project management are litigation cases and even larger transactional cases. Over the next 5 to 10 years, matter management tools will become a normal way of doing business just like today, how client intake and fee agreements are part of every current law firms’ tool bucket.
At the basic level, matter management involves defining, planning, executing and evaluating. The reason it is growing rapidly, is it can be a competitive advantage in the following areas:
- Enhance current client relationships by showing them your proactive approach to handling their matters
- It provides a better way to monitor fees and costs
- Improve communication with clients and eliminate surprises
- Deliver greater value to clients by reducing clients’ total legal costs
- Reduce the average cost of certain types of cases through the development of processes
- Manage and share the risk
- Increase profitability and realization rates
- Improves financial reporting because you are capturing more and better data – key metrics
- Develop better internal business practices and increase efficiency
- Build good processes to increase productivity
- Gain a better understanding of how you are getting things done