Project Management Primer


By Taylor Burton Published on March 13, 2024

Estimated reading time: 4 Minutes

Project management might not be the first thing that comes to mind when most hear the word "lawyer." They might think of dramatic court battles or long study sessions surrounded by law books.

The aspects of project management might not be so glamorous, but they are essential skills for every lawyer, especially in such a competitive and challenging career. You need excellent organizational skills, good judgment in assigning tasks, analyzing results, and the ability to manage multiple people and legal projects. Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tools ready to aid you in this sometimes-overwhelming feat. Let's discover how to get primed for some serious project management.

What better way to become an expert on a topic than with PBI CLE? Join us on March 20th for "Adobe Acrobat for Lawyers - PDFs and a Whole Lot More." PDFs are the lifeblood of the electronic court world; this course will make navigating through your project files a breeze. Get to know the ins and outs of Adobe Acrobat alongside the experts in this educational, informative, and hands-on program!

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Form a plan. Preparation is everything! Conduct the necessary legal research before diving in. Take time to gather the information you need, define your goals, and create a timeline. Determine who will assist you and what tasks they will be given. Don't ever rush things if you can afford to take your time! Ample pre-planning time will help you execute your project more smoothly in the long run.

The Three "T's." Time management, Team management, and Task management are the Three big ones. As a lawyer, you have to be timely when it comes to preparing for court or moving a client's case along. You must constantly weigh your workload against the time you have to complete it. Don't hesitate to delegate tasks to the rest of your team! Play to their strengths for maximum results. A successful legal project manager knows how to excel at all three of these.

When taking on a new project, make sure you're prioritizing the three "T's!"

Lay the foundation for documentation. Project documentation is a vital part of project management! Be sure to organize all of your files in one place so that you are easily able to access their information throughout your process. Document all communication, your goals, overall timelines, status reports, and any issues that come up. A paper trail can help you get back on track if you ever drift off course. Invite your team to collaborate and contribute.

Be sure to keep your files updated with any new information that comes your way to make sure everyone involved stays on the same page. Documentation will serve as a valuable point of reference for any project.

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Adjust accordingly. Lawyers often face strict deadlines. Unfortunately, not everything can always go according to plan. Try to have some wiggle room when it comes to your game plan. Periodically check in with your team to assess how everything is coming along. Communicate progress regularly with your client and be sure to let them know if anything changes.

Post-project reflection. You should always take time to evaluate a project's success. What were the results? Did you achieve all of the goals you set? What were your pain points? Did you learn anything new? What can you do to make the process even more efficient next time? Record your findings so you don't soon forget them. Be sure to obtain feedback from your team, your client, and any other important players involved.

Invest in project management. There is a plethora of project management software available online to make your life easier. The flexible ClickUp is all about hosting team collaborations on a single platform and keeps you productive with an AI-powered assistant. Asana is focused on goal setting and keeping your team on track. Monday.com touts that they are project management made easy and will aid you in planning projects of all sizes.

These tools can help streamline your workflow and heighten your firm's efficiency. Find one that's a perfect fit for your team! If you're not sure where to start, here's a Top 10 list by Project-Management.com.

You could also possibly hire a full-time project manager if your firm is in need! Then you'll be free to focus on other matters. However, you'll still be using these effective skills to manage your time!

Project Management Concept on the Mechanism of Metal Cogwheels.

If you're ready to take your practice to new heights, it's time to embrace the many benefits of project management to the fullest. Speaking of "projects," don't miss Project Objection--a special presentation that includes a focus on the wellbeing of practitioners! In this interactive program, participants will explore realistic workplace situations and contemplate the issues, viewpoints, and ethical principles at play.