The Lawyer’s Guide to Legal Project Management

The Lawyer’s Guide to Legal Project Management is an invaluable asset for any firm looking to capitalise on the strategic gap in the market; whether it be though introducing the fundamentals of LPM, or by bolstering existing functions to corporate process improvements and to support Knowledge Management initiatives.

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  • Publication date: February, 2017
  • Pages: 105
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-276-1


Effectively implementing project management has become a key ambition for many firms across the world. The interest project management has garnered from the legal sector is not surprising; the range of benefits it offers are extensive and impactful; including reducing costs, enabling more efficient commodity work, and creating more accurate budgeting forecasts.

However, despite the general consensus on its value adoption rates have been slow across the sector – only a handful of top firms have successfully implemented LPM into their practices, and are reaping the benefits. The slow adoption rates create a real opening for a competitive advantage through Legal Project Management, even at a basic starting level, as according to Jim Hassett even “glacial progress can produce new business when you are competing with firms that are making no progress at all”.

Featuring expert analysis on the form and function of LPM from leading industry experts, and case studies from top law firms on effective implementation and take-up, this title offers a robust overview of project management functions in the legal sector.


Executive summary 

About the authors 

Chapter 1: Why is it urgent to implement LPM? 
By Jim Hassett, founder of LegalBizDev

  • Law fi rms are moving slowly 
  • LPM benefits
  • Defi ning LPM broadly 

Chapter 2: Project management foundational principles 
By Barbara J. Boake, national practice leader at McCarthy Terrault, and Rick Kathuria, national director of project management at Gowling WLG

  • What is project management? 
  • What is a project? 
  • Project management versus process management
  • The triple constraints 
  • The project sponsor 
  • The project manager 
  • Project management processes 
  • The project life cycle 
  • The importance of “process assets” 
  • A few rules to live by 

Chapter 3: Expert analysis – Legal project management 
By Rick Kathuria, director PM and Legal Logistics at Gowling WLG and a member of the University of Calgary’s Law school faculty where he lectureson Legal Project Management, and Manju Jessa, Assistant General Counsel, RBC General Counsel Group

  • Self-managed 
  • Project management offi ce 
  • Professional support lawyers 

Chapter 4: The client value perspective 
By Lann Wasson, associate director of legal project management at Husch Blackwell LLP

  • Why are opportunities missed? 
  • The four “rules of thumb” 
  • Applying the four principles 

Chapter 5: E-discovery and legal project management 
By Zena Applebaum, director of competitive intelligence at Bennett Jones LLP

  • E-discovery/document management
  • Legal project management 
  • Firms applying legal practice management 
  • E-discovery and legal project management as data 

Chapter 6: Creating valuable knowledge in the fi rm through legal project management
By Lann Wasson, associate director of legal project management at Husch Blackwell LLP

  • Launching the legal project management program 
  • Creating knowledge that has competitive value 
  • Triple constraint 
  • Clear consistent communication 
  • Lessons learned 
  • Reimagining service delivery models 

Chapter 7: How KM staff can help drive successful legal project management initiatives 
By Antony Smith, founder of Legal Project Management Limited

  • What is legal project management? 
  • How to start improving LPM capability
  • Aligning LPM with law fi rm strategy 
  • Break projects down 
  • Some tactical ideas for LPM implementation 

Chapter 8: Project management plus process improvement – The multiplier effect 
By Catherine Alman MacDonagh, JD, CEO and founder of the Legal Lean Sigma Institute LLC, and creator of Legal Lean Sigma® and The Legal WorkOut™

  • The PI/PM connection 
  • Process improvement 
  • Project management for both legal and process improvement work 
  • Case studies: The multiplier effect of employing PI/PM together 
  • Conclusion 

Chapter 9: Overcoming IT mutiny – Obtaining fee-earner buy-in for a new project management system 
By Helen Bunker, divisional director of private law at Blake Morgan

  • A new system 
  • Softly, softly 
  • Measuring impact 
  • Continuous development 
  • Achieving fee-earner buy-in for a new system 

Chapter 10: Lean and agile – How legal project management can transform client services 
By Karen Dalton, senior enterprise project manager, and John Duggan, senior legal project manager at Seyfarth Shaw

  • Creating the LPMO 
  • Agile project management 
  • Challenges faced 
  • Impact on the firm
  • Lessons learned 
Full Overview


Jim Hassett
Author and Founder, LegalBizDev.
Karen Dalton
Senior enterprise project manager at Seyfarth Shaw.
John Duggan
John is senior legal project manager at Seyfarth Shaw.
Helen Bunker
Helena is a divisional director of private law at Blake Morgan.
Barbara J Boake
Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP.
Rick A Kathuria
National director, projectmanagement office and legal logistics, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Antony Smith
Founder of Legal Project Management Limited.
Zena Applebaum
Zena Applebaum is director, customer insights & success at Thomson Reuters in Canada. In her role, Zena is responsible for client feedback and intelligence, market insights, and sales enablement. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Zena was the director of competitive intelligence at Bennett Jones LLP, having pioneered the discipline of law fi rm CI, and authoring Business Intelligence for Law Firms, published in November 2012. Zena shares her passion for the industry as a speaker, writer and contributor to blogs, including “3 Geeks and a Law Blog”, with topics ranging from competitive intelligence, legal industry change management, qualitative data analysis and personal branding. A data junkie who revels in the possibilities of data to connect people, places and things, Zena can often be found connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated data. In 2015 Zena was inducted as a Fellow of the Council of CI Fellows, and she has been a sessional instructor the University of Toronto iSchool, Rutgers University and a guest lecturer at law schools across North America. She currently serves on the SLA Board of Directors.
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.
Catherine Alman MacDonagh, JD
Catherine is a former corporate counsel and law firm executive. She now teaches and provides training and consulting services with a focus on marketing and business development, strategy, process improvement, project management, and operational and process excellence. In her practice, FIRM Guidance, she serves as “trusted advisor to the trusted advisors,” whether training, coaching, or developing competitive advantages. She is also Chief Enthusiasm Officer of Mocktails LLC, which offers experiential networking training programs, including The Legal Mocktail. A Legal Lean Sigma® Black Belt and a certified Six Sigma Green Belt, Catherine is the CEO and a Founder of the Legal Lean Sigma Institute, which offers consulting and the first and only process improvement and project management certifications, courses, and workshops designed specifically for the legal profession. Catherine is an adjunct professor at Suffolk Law School and at George Washington University (Master’s in Law Firm Management) and a frequent guest lecturer at other academic institutions. She is the author of Lean Six Sigma for Law Firms and the co-author of The Woman Lawyer's Rainmaking Game and The Law Firm Associate's Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills. She is a contributing author to six books: Redefining Matter Management: A Best Practice Guide to Improving Processes and Profitability; The Lawyer’s Guide to Project Management; The Bigger Picture: Driving Client Value Through Collaboration; The Lawyer’s Guide to Process Improvement; and The Procurement Handbook. Catherine is a founder of both the Coalition of Professional Services Providers and the Legal Sales and Service Organization, which presents the annual LSSO’s RainDance Conference. Honors and awards Catherine has received include: Fellow, College of Law Practice Management; Legal Marketing Association Hall of Fame (the association’s highest honor); Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40; two years on the prestigious MLF 50 (Marketing the Law Firm Top 50) List; and several Legal Marketing Association Your Honor Awards. 

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