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GCs increasingly seeking legal project management for their in-house legal teams

September 21, 2016

general counsel legal services project management in-house lawyers

In this insightful interview, Pearson’s GC Bjarne Tellmen highlights the need for legal project management (LPM) within in-house legal teams.  LPM is generally discussed with reference to traditional law firms, who are looking to increase operational and cost efficiency for clients through project managing major transactions.  However, LPM has many different guises when it comes to in-house legal teams; from creating operational and organizational efficiency, to creating work flows and risk management channels between in-house and external legal providers at the operational level.  LPM also involves  mapping out and managing all aspects of a project in terms of goals and objectives, resources, costs, risks and timescale management from the definition and planning stages through to formal closure.

For in-house legal teams, LPM should be part of your future planning and cost allocation. How you manage your team and how you manage your transactions is what will create long term efficiencies and ensure you manage risk effectively.  It is what will make your in-house team more effective, sustainable and valuable to the business for the long-term.

Legal project management is also about lawyers needing to acquire skills that are outside of their silos and comfort zones, and needing to understand the skills and principles used by project managers in other sectors. I don’t think it’s just in LPM that we are seeing the need for lawyers to develop skills outside of their silos. I’m a big fan of alternative legal providers: they provide cost effective solutions which are often far better suited to a company’s needs than the ‘one size fits all’ law firm model. The key is to fill each part of your supply chain with the best-positioned partner and elevate relationships with your suppliers: it’s not just about a mercenary quest for the lowest possible cost; it’s about sourcing so that you hit the sweet spot between value and real partnership.

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