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Driving LPM Adoption: Build for Your “Why”

July 09, 2021

process legal project management lpm

On the opening day of June’s Global LPM Summit, Elevate’s Stephen Allen, VP of Get Sh*t Done, delivered a presentation on adopting Legal Process Management (LPM), highlighting the key considerations a law firm should bear in mind.

From the outset, Stephen emphasised that it would be a mistake to think that gaining a competitive advantage for your law firm through LPM is simply a matter of obtaining the right technology and implementing the right processes. Of course, the tools you use and the process you follow are essential. But the crucial step in deploying LPM comes well before any decisions about what technology to purchase and how you will use it. The most critical factor in the success of LPM is the degree of clarity you have about your “Why,” that is, your core reasons for LPM. Without a clear sense of what you seek to accomplish and the fundamental problem you want to solve, your entire LPM effort may well be for nought. As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

As far as “Why,” the foundational principle of LPM is to deliver engagements on time, on point, and on budget. But the “Why” of law firms differs slightly from that of their customers. For a law firm, an LPM is both a means to the end of happy customers whose expectations are met (or, ideally, exceeded) and a way to avoid write-offs. For the law firm’s customer, LPM provides confidence that work performed by the firm matches what the customer asked for when they asked for it and at the price to which they agreed.

That said, Stephen noted that it is important to recognise that there is no single optimal LPM approach for all matters. Different use cases demand different types of LPM. This is clear once you divide matters into tranches according to the volume of the work involved relative to the value of the work. A substantial percentage of matters cumulatively account for a relatively modest amount of revenue, while a small cohort generates an outsized portion of income. From this reality, it follows that the ROI for LPM varies depending on what sort of matter you consider. For many low-revenue matters, a tracker LPM makes sense. For the limited number of matters that generate a big slice of revenues, self-service LPM is appropriate. And for the few most valuable matters, a hands-on professional LPM is advisable.

Similarly, there is no single user of LPM within a firm. First, there is the reality that not all users begin using new technology and new processes immediately. In the beginning, it will be just the Early Adopters; they are eager to try new technology and tolerant of the learning curve involved. Next are the Fast Followers: early demonstrations of an LPM will convince them to begin using it. Slow Followers require more substantial persuasion, while Won’t Doers are highly resistant to change. There is also the reality that different categories of professionals will use the LPM as its deployment proceeds. Of course, there are the lawyers – but there are also professionals in the finance and pricing function, paralegals, project managers, and even business development. No single type of user has all the good ideas. Indeed, the best ideas usually come from the synthesis of seemingly distinct ideas. Developing a good LPM requires listening to the needs of and drawing on input from various users.

Stephen concluded his remarks by again emphasising the critical importance of understanding your “Why.” Armed with a clear understanding of that, you can design and build your LPM to maximum advantage.

The most critical factor in the success of LPM is the degree of clarity you have about your “Why,” that is, your core reasons for LPM.

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