Innovations in Legal Project Management

Harnessing legal project management as a strategy that is explicitly aligned to a law firm’s or legal department’s business objectives and culture.

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  • Publication date: October, 2018
  • Pages: 100
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-352-2


The organizational competence of project management provides a solid foundation for every activity conducted by a business and the practice of law. Legal project management (LPM) provides the discipline that enables lawyers and those who manage legal work – in law firms, law departments and alternate legal services providers – to define, demonstrate and deliver greater value by balancing the scope of work, time, and resources as they strive for optimal efficiency, outcomes and client satisfaction.

Although many distinguish the business of law from the practice of law, innovators in legal project management take an integrated approach. In commercial and governmental settings, practicing law is

not an academic exercise, nor an end in itself. Effective legal services address a client’s business needs, opportunities and risk profile, and may also implicate public policy and legal precedent. The client experience is personal as well as professional. LPM provides a framework for meeting all these challenges.

Innovations in Legal Project Management profiles those who have done the difficult work of harnessing the relevant aspects of legal project management as a strategy that is explicitly aligned to a law

firm’s or legal department’s business objectives and culture. The authors describe communication strategies and techniques to train, coach and mentor those acquiring the skills to implement legal project management practices as a core aspect of the fi rm’s business strategy, operations, quality legal services, and focus on the client experience.

All the contributors to this book are professionals who continuously see around corners in improving the legal profession. They have created value for their firms, clients, and organizations; others have advanced the legal profession. They have systematically:

  • Used deep insights about particular clients to create new services and ways of doing things that impact the client’s business goals;
  • Incrementally improved the speed, value (cost/margin), and quality/  benefits of the product or service they deliver; and/or
  • Relied on technology that is homegrown or highly customized to meet users’ needs.


Executive summary

About the authors

Chapter 1: Making legal project management work – a custom approach inspired by Einstein

By Meredith Wise Mendes, executive director and chief operating officer of Jenner & Block

Chapter 2: Innovations in legal project management – a law firm case study that focuses on client needs

By Randall Brater and Katie Heilman, practicing lawyers at Arent Fox LLP

Chapter 3: Putting legal project management principles into practice for M&A 

By Byron S Kalogerou, partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and Dennis J White, senior counsel at Verrill Dana LLP

Chapter 4: Innovations in professional development for legal project development skills 

By Todd Hutchison, founder and leader of the International Institute of Legal Project Management

Chapter 5: Daily management – meetings that matter

By Thomas Agostinelli, director of practice management at Butler Snow LLP

Chapter 6: Increasing profi ts with LPM practices

By Kathleen Thompson, formerly senior manager of client value and matter management at BakerHostetler

Chapter 7: Close collaboration drives successful outcomes

By Kevin Bielawski and Lann Wasson, director and associate director of legal project management at Husch Blackwell

Chapter 8: Legal service delivery innovation

By Sam Davenport and Brian Fanning, director of legal business solutions and director of practice economics at Davis Wright Tremaine

Chapter 9: How law departments use LPM to improve the corporate bottom line 

By Aileen Leventon, principal of Edge International

Contents and Executive Summary


Meredith Wise Mendes
Meredith Wise Mendes is Jenner & Block’s executive director and chief operating officer. Meredith provides strategic direction, financial analysis and operations management for all Jenner & Block offices. She has a long track record of creating top-line growth and increasing net income by driving innovation and efficiencies, metrics and process improvements, and implementing management tools that further the firm lawyers’ ability to provide excellence in client service. Before joining Jenner & Block, Meredith was worldwide chief financial officer of Edelman, a global public relations firm, and chief financial officer of Medline Industries. She began her career practicing law in corporate and municipal finance, and is a sought-after speaker on topics including legal project management, technology and the law, and real estate management in professional services firms.
Randall Brater
Randy Brater is a partner and commercial litigator at Arent Fox, who represents companies in the health care, life sciences, construction, food, fashion, and media and entertainment industries. He routinely litigates high-stakes matters in state and federal courts in cases involving the False Claims Act, trademark infringement, unfair competition, and other Lanham Act claims, and data compensation arbitrations arising under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). For the past several years, he has served as the project management task force leader at Arent Fox, overseeing projects in various practice areas designed to create effi ciencies with clients and foster accountability, communication, predictability, and transparency.
Katie Heilman
Katie Heilman is an associate in Arent Fox’s complex litigation group. Her practice focuses on ERISA and managed care litigation, environmental litigation and regulatory counseling, and fashion/retail law. She has been involved in litigation matters in state and federal court, as well as arbitrations, and is experienced in all phases of litigation, including discovery, depositions, motion practice, trial preparation, and appeals. Katie has counseled clients on regulatory compliance and litigation strategy in a wide range of industries, including fashion and luxury goods, real estate, health care, agriculture and biotechnology, media and entertainment, and hospitality.
Byron S Kalogerou
Byron S Kalogerou is a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP. He focuses his practice on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances. Byron spent 17 years in-house before returning to law firm life 14 years ago with a desire to bring his keen sense of the “voice of the customer” to drive predictability and efficiency into the M&A deal process. He is a pioneer in using legal project management and co-founded and co-heads the Task Force on Legal Project Management in M&A of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, and served as co-editor of the ABA guidebook entitled Using Legal Project Management in Merger and Acquisition Transactions, now in its second edition. Byron also created the first-of-its-kind web-based collaborative deal management portal, which McDermott has adopted and embraced as the M&A Gateway. He regularly speaks on the topic of how using legal project management in M&A results in greater client satisfaction and retention.
Dennis J White
Dennis J White is senior counsel in the Boston office of Verrill Dana LLP, where his practice focuses on transactional matters, particularly mergers and acquisitions and on advising companies and directors regarding governance issues. Den co-founded and co-heads the Task Force on Legal Project Management in M&A of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, and served as co-editor of the ABA guidebook entitled Using Legal Project Management in Merger and Acquisition Transactions. He is also a past chairman of the Global Board of Directors of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), an M&A trade association with more than 14,000 deal community members in over 50 chapters around the world.
Todd Hutchison
Todd Hutchison is an international bestselling author, global consultant and educator, and an adjunct associate professor in project management. He was formally a global board director of the Project Management Institute, and the inaugural Fellow of PMI in Australia, with over 30 years’ experience in leading projects. Todd leads the global management consultancy and training group called Peopleistic, including the Peopleistic Legal PM division, and also holds adjunct positions with CQUniversity, Edith Cowan University and Curtin University. He has worked in over 150 organizations across 13 countries and is the chairman of the International Institute of Legal Project Management.
Thomas Agostinelli
Thomas Agostinelli serves as director of practice management at Butler Snow LLP, where he collaborates with practice group leaders to develop strategies to best serve the client and streamline business operations. His role also includes oversight of paraprofessionals, litigation support and project and process management within Butler Snow, where he drives legal project management (LPM) and process improvement initiatives to enhance delivery of legal services and client satisfaction. Prior to joining Butler Snow in 2013, Thomas worked at Horne LLP where he supported government disaster recovery programs with the Government Services Practice Group. Thomas is a certified project management professional (PMP) and an accredited legal project management professional (ALPMP).
Kathleen Thompson
Kathleen Thompson has served as the senior manager of client value and matter management at BakerHostetler. She has 20 years of experience leveraging her finance and project management real-life experiences to ensure a methodical and organized approach is applied to programs and projects. Her training approach provides relatable finance and operation perspectives. Kathleen consistently acts a resource to provide specific guidance on managing clients, internal resources, defining and utilizing work plans and other opportunities to add value. Her ability to tailor a solution for a specific situation is how she has been able to increase profitability and client satisfaction. Recently, she was responsible for developing, implementing and coordinating legal project management (LPM) at Baker Hostetler and wrote a manual on LPM, outlining specific methodology and tools.
Kevin Bielawski
Kevin T Bielawski is the director of legal project management and strategic pricing at Husch Blackwell, and has 21 years of experience in the legal industry in various fi nancial roles. In his current role, he consults directly with the fi rm’s partners and its clients to identify business objectives, value perspective, process ineffi ciencies, and assist with solution development and implementation. He regularly leads the development, proposal and execution of appropriate fee arrangements that meet clients’ budget demands. He is an accredited legal pricing professional and a certifi ed project management professional.
Lann Wasson
Lann Wasson is the associate director of legal project management at Husch Blackwell LLP and is both a certified project management professional and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. For the past 18 years he has worked closely with client teams and practice groups in their use of technology, legal project management and approaches to business model and product design. Over the years, Lann has also worked with in-house counsel to discuss how to adapt the firm’s technology platforms to their needs, as well as suggest how legal project management could augment law department programs and strategies. In 2017 and 2018 the ACC recognized two of these client projects as Value Champions.
Sam Davenport
Sam Davenport is the director of legal business solutions at Davis Wright Tremaine, where he manages the DWT De Novo’s Legal Solution Architects. He holds a JD from Rutgers School of Law, a PMP from the Project Management Institute, a CSM and CSPO from the Scrum Alliance, and an LPM certifi cation from the LPM Institute. He is a recognized expert in project management and business operations, routinely presenting and speaking on those topics at legal industry conferences.
Brian Fanning
Brian Fanning is the director of practice economics at Davis Wright Tremaine. He holds an MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and is an accredited legal pricing professional through the True Value Partnering Institute. Brian leads a team charged with leveraging the fi rm’s economic and operational data to drive more effective, profitable decision making. Brian’s team is also responsible for developing and articulating the fi rm’s data strategy and developing reporting capabilities that deliver data, analysis, and insights to end users at every level within the firm.
Aileen Leventon
Aileen Leventon is a business counselor to the legal industry and a practicing lawyer with over 30 years of experience. She consults with law departments, law firms and individual lawyers on strategies to manage and sustain sound financial performance and continuously improve the efficiency of legal work. In addition to advising, coaching, and training, Aileen has facilitated numerous after-action reviews of closed matters to promote buy-in of legal project management techniques. She has also been embedded in ongoing matters to provide analysis and coaching to bring distressed matters back on course.

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