Legal Project Management: Getting to insight, productivity and results

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With today’s pressure to reduce the cost of litigation while illuminating crucial information, the capture and organization of facts and events require more than legal knowledge or complex technology. They require the skill to assemble knowledge in real time and the capacity to keep teams on the right path.

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Legal Project Management: Getting to insight, productivity and results

  1. 1. Legal project management A white paper from   Kelly® Legal Managed Services Gary M. Buckland and Jeffrey Schultz Getting insight, productivity and results
  2. 2. /02 Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends – wisdom, money, materials and methods. First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal – a goal, an objective. Third,adjustallyour meanstothatend. Aristotle
  3. 3. Facts and events are at the heart of every legal case, and in this day and age – especially on the enterprise level – managing these details is most definitely a science. Yet there is an art to successful legal project management, too. This includes balancing legal obligations and requirements with business strategy, process standards and objectives with deadlines, the responsibilities of inside counsel with the decisions of outside counsel, and defining value while managing the exploding volume of data. The legal minds must be able to focus on legal strategy and execution as they always have. But weaving the intricate threads of discovery and documentation remains a priority, too. Legal project management is no straightforward, simplistic, purely administrative task. And it has become a strategic endeavor not just in litigation but in corporate management, too. Fifty years ago, the large corporate law firms that traditionally specialized in litigation served clients well through a combination of expertise and brawn. They used their cases as a training ground for newly-minted attorneys who often learned their craft by gathering and documenting the facts of a case – and helping clients navigate the requirements for transparency. Adjust all your means to that end /03 Legal project management is no straightforward, simplistic, purely administrative task.
  4. 4. As litigation became more complex and lengthy, and firms tried to manage data by assigning more legal professionals to the task, internal and external costs skyrocketed. Then in the 1990s, new data management technologies emerged. Since then, using a mix of legal and technological muscle, deriving information out of accumulating case data remains a mammoth undertaking. Often with the support or endorsement of legal advisors, the shift in focus to technology has opened the door to all manner of service providers. There have been huge investments in technology “solutions” that promise to turn legal information into a foundation for litigation. Yet these product investments have still required too many ancillary services. Outside counsel often must invest significant time in running projects and corralling bytes of information. Besides the cost and the red tape, the trend to outsource legal project management to technology specialists became problematic for two other reasons. First, any legal project is more than document organization or data capture. Legal projects involve achieving a foolproof data gathering process and real-time evaluation of priorities against the overall project objective. Every legal project must be executed in the context of enterprise business strategies and corporate responsibility. /04Adjust all your means to that end Using a mix of legal and technological muscle, deriving information out of accumulating case data remains a mammoth undertaking.
  5. 5. Second, defining legal project management as a pure technology play puts a lot of pressure on the technology. Legal projects require the involvement of attorneys at the right moment. The best use of technology harnesses the well-chosen talents brought into a project and leverages experts skilled in managing people and processes. When it’s designed and deployed by such experts, the appropriate technology package accomplishes its purpose – organizing legal documentation for cataloging and searches – without distracting from legal strategy or compromising deadlines. With today’s pressure to reduce the cost of litigation while illuminating crucial information, the capture and organization of facts and events require more than legal knowledge or complex technology. They require the skill to assemble knowledge in real time and the capacity to keep teams on the right path. /05Adjust all your means to that end When it’s designed and deployed by such experts, the appropriate technology package accomplishes its purpose.
  6. 6. To outsource today’s legal projects well, it is important to honor management experience, employ professional standards and forget about simplistic packaged solutions. The moment has arrived for the strong, collaborative participation of project management specialists who can complete the team of legal and administrative professionals required for effective legal project management – most especially by putting technology to the service of well-articulated and tightly managed processes. And with the presence of legal project management strategists who know how to move technology to the right corners of every assignment, put people to the appropriate tasks and manage risk, legal projects can finally be handled effectively, in a way that does not distract inside counsel from their portfolio of responsibilities and that protects outside counsel from incurring unbridled cost. /06 The three things to know First, managing legal projects is only getting more complex. But it’s not impossible. Second, use established standards to manage legal projects. It keeps things level. Third, you need technology that extends the reach of project managers experienced in eDiscovery – technology that serves the team. Not the other way around. Adjust all your means to that end
  7. 7. /07 Managing legal projects is only getting more complex. Butit’snot impossible.
  8. 8. The legal discovery process requires transparency. No party involved in litigation is legally permitted to withhold information or evidence from another party. Evidence includes documents, depositions, petitions, motions, interrogatories, that is, any effort undertaken to provide data to the court. The more intricate the details, the more judgment is required. Besides being a significant time drain, putting law firms to the task of managing data and data capture technology is no longer the best use of their resources. Within corporations, inside counsel is needed for more strategic consultation. As inside counsel has found ways to work with outside counsel to outsource the execution of projects, companies have become comfortable with the practice of pulling in external resources to staff legal projects. However, no one is comfortable with the technology misfires that occur as a result of an overemphasis on data processing and the underuse of project management. The fact that more than seventy percent of eDiscovery litigation costs still are incurred in the review stage means that random technology has not been the answer. Yet the large law firms cannot tap today’s burgeoning legal talent pool because their infrastructures /08it’s not impossible Seventy percent of eDiscovery litigation costs are still incurred in the review stage. 70%
  9. 9. can no longer support their cost. The workaround of implementing and even white- labeling technology for legal projects does not work either. eDiscovery solutions alone cannot soothe concerns about data security, frustrations with project visibility, inconsistent reporting and communication, gaps in quality control or indefensible documentation. The review stage is where to take a first look at complexity and to initiate eDiscovery process efficiencies while establishing manageable segments. First, to bring document review under control, experienced, skilled project managers are essential. They can create a process structure that is visible, on demand, to all stakeholders – outside counsel, inside counsel, staff and company executives. Project managers guard productivity levels as well as quality, which is critical to project timeliness and cost management. Second, to scale the project in real time – which is often at a moment’s notice – have access to a resource that can acquire experts and specialists apace with the escalation /09it’s not impossible To bring document review under control, experienced, skilled project managers are essential.
  10. 10. of the case. There need not be any sacrifice in the agility required to shift gears to another discovery task or area. It is also essential to make sure that these experts and specialists have already been vetted for all aspects of legal project management, so the only immersion they require is in the specifics of the case and the client. Third, to sustain a focus on the outcome from the earliest possible stage, knowledge of cutting-edge best practices is an advantage. Besides supporting the ability to pivot into emerging areas of discovery, this strengthens the probability of a defensible documentation and a complete audit trail. /10 Success factors in reducing complexity Innovative technology managed by established project experts with experience in the legal domain Excellent outside counsel enabled to focus on legal strategy and content Scalable, flexible processes that can pivot to solve problems or penetrate new areas An undeterred focus on delivery A clear sense of who the stakeholders are and what they need it’s not impossible
  11. 11. /11 Use established standards to manage legal projects. Itkeeps thingslevel.
  12. 12. Any project is a construct for accomplishing and managing business activities. A project is temporary and finite, bringing together key talent to reach specific business objectives and serve specific customers or users. So the objectives must be clear, understood and in front of the team at all times. With varied activities and products, multiple deadlines and delivery expectations, projects must be fluid, too. Regardless of size and complexity, every project is measured for success under three main criteria. Known as the triple constraints, these criteria – quality, time and budget – also provide the foundation for everyone’s activities. The Quality Constraint defines the expected standard for the project’s outcome. The Time Constraint addresses the project’s schedule and milestones. The Budget Constraint outlines the price of the project and its costs. A legal document review is, essentially, a project. With skilled project managers at the helm – who know when and how to imbed best practices into any project and integrate it with legal counsel’s strategy and direction – a law firm or corporation can achieve a successful outcome without taxing resources or budgets. /12keep things level Known as the triple constraints, these criteria – quality, time and budget – also provide the foundation for everyone’s activities.
  13. 13. The Project Management Institute (PMI) provides guidance for project management in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The PMBOK articulates the phases of a project – Scope, Plan, Execute and Monitor, Close-out – as the Project Management Life Cycle. The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) proposes similar constructs for the phases of legal projects. (See figure 1) 1. Scoping: During Scoping, a project charter captures and refines the project’s objectives and expectations. It is based upon the project proposal and business case analysis. A project manager is selected and assigned. At the end of Scoping, a Statement of Work (SOW) documents any commercial services to be produced by the project. 2. Planning: During Planning, stakeholders define the desired outcome of the project, team members’ roles and responsibilities, schedules, resources, scope and costs. The result is a project management plan – the document that articulates how the project will be executed, monitored and controlled, and closed. The project management plan is the project’s baseline. /13 1. Scope 2. Plan 3. Execute & Monitor 4. Close-out keep things level The result is a project management plan – the document that articulates how the project will be executed, monitored and controlled, and closed.
  14. 14. Project Management Life Cycle /14 figure 1 communication quality control reporting/metrics client/corporation vendorlaw firm Scope Plan Change Management Execute and Manage Close-out Identification Preservation Collection Processing Review Analysis Production PresentationInformation Management
  15. 15. 3. Executing and Monitoring: During Executing and Monitoring, the project manager leads the implementation. As the project team performs, the project manager uses the plan to monitor, communicate and measure quality. It’s in this phase that approvals and signoffs on products occur. 4. Closing: During Closing, the team presents the deliverables and confirms the client’s consent to close the project. The project manager produces formal project closure documentation and reports. Also, the team reviews the project’s results to identify lessons and document them. Any aspects of the project that require a transition are articulated and submitted in a report to the client. The EDRM Project Management Framework (EPMF) articulates a typical eDiscovery project management team structure across the three main stakeholder entities: the client corporation, the outside law firm, and the vendor or group of vendors. There are exceptions, but the framework serves those situations as well. (See figure 2) /15keep things level As the project team performs, the project manager uses the plan to monitor, communicate and measure quality.
  16. 16. EDRM Project Management Team Model /16 figure 2 law firm Legal Team Lit Support Team Law Firm Project Manager vendor Operations Team External Providers Vendor Project Manager corporation IT TeamLegal Team Corporation Project Manager Integrated Project Management Team
  17. 17. Each entity has a team member who has project management responsibilities. While this may not be an official title, it does carry functional responsibility. Within the law firm, the project management role is usually played by a litigation support manager, paralegal or attorney. Within the corporation, someone from the legal team or information technology takes on the role. Project managers, from each entity, have two sets of responsibilities: to lead that entity’s portion of the project and to coordinate activities with the other entities. These roles are fundamental to the EPMF approach. And while the framework does not specify any formal organizational structure among the project entities, it does call for an Integrated Project Management Team. The entities may choose to be more formal, but the purpose of the team is to foster a business relationship that promotes a healthy, open dynamic for the project. A collaborative environment that fosters open communications is a key to every project’s success. Common goals, realistic plans, risk parameters, transparency, timely information and change protocols are the hallmarks of collaboration. The EPMF Project Management Process Model includes guidelines for building each project’s approach to collaboration and coordination. /17keep things level Common goals, realistic plans, risk parameters, transparency, timely information and change protocols are the hallmarks of collaboration.
  18. 18. It helps to identify and confirm which entity is playing the role of the customer, service provider and consumer. In the typical eDiscovery project, the customer is usually the corporation, the service provider is the vendor and the consumer is the law firm. But it’s not always that simple or straightforward. For example, the corporation’s information technology team may be providing the service of identifying data sources relevant to a matter. In this case, the law firm defines for the client’s IT group the scope and constraints of their activities, and IT delivers the status reports. So identifying the roles of customer, service provider and consumer helps to clarify the responsibilities articulated in the Process Model. The PMBOK fifth edition describes ten core knowledge areas in a typical project management life cycle. Mastery of the knowledge areas is difficult but at least one person – the project manager – must possess it. 1. Integration Management. Coordination of all activities and processes. 2. Scope Management. Processes that define and address all the work required to complete the project successfully. /18keep things level In the typical eDiscovery project, the customer is usually the corporation, the service provider is the vendor and the consumer is the law firm.
  19. 19. 3. Time Management. Managing sequencing and completion of the project tasks. 4. Cost Management. Planning, estimating, budgeting, funding, managing and controlling costs so that the project can be completed within the approved budget. 5. Quality Management. Implementation of iterative and continuous processes and activities that achieve quality objectives. 6. Human Resource Management. Processes to recruit, vet, organize, manage and lead the project team. 7. Communications Management. Appropriate planning, collection, distribution, management, control, monitoring and ultimate disposition of project information. 8. Risk Management. Conducting risk management planning, identification, analysis, response planning, and monitoring and control on a project. /19keep things level
  20. 20. 9. Procurement Management. Processes necessary to engage, purchase or acquire products or services needed from outside the project team. 10. Stakeholder Management. Processes and strategies for effectively engaging stakeholders in project communications, decisions and execution. These ten knowledge areas populate the four project phases, so it’s up to the team – across all entities – to harness the resulting information practically, using a task orientation timed to each phase’s schedule. Left unharnessed, it’s just data – much like the legal documentation would be without the efforts of the team to manage it. /20keep things level Left unharnessed, it’s just data – much like the legal documentation would be without the efforts of the team to manage it.
  21. 21. /21 Knowledge areas Initiating process group Planning process group Executing process group Monitoring & controlling process group Closing process group Project integration management Develop project charter Develop project Management plan Direct and manage work Monitoring & controlling project work Perform integrated change control Close project or phase Project scope management Plan scope management Collect requirement Define scope Create WBS Validate scope Control scope Project time management Plan schedule management Define activities Sequence activities Estimate activity resources Estimate activity durations Develop schedule Control schedule Project cost management Plan cost management Estimate cost Determine budget Control costs Project quality management Plan quality management Perform quality assurance Perform quality control Project human resources management Plan human resource management Acquire project team Develop project team Manage project team Project communication management Plan communications management Manage communications Control communications Project risk management Plan risk management Identify risks Performance qualitative Risk analysis Perform quantitative risk Analysis Plan risk analysis Control risks Project procurement management Plan procurements management Conduct procurements Control procurements Close procurements Project stakeholder management Identify stakeholders Plan stakeholder management Manage stakeholder engagement Control stakeholder engagement Process Groups
  22. 22. In 1984, the PMI launched a credentials process for the Project Management Professional (PMP). It has since become the professional standard for project managers. More than 500,000 people now hold PMP certification. eDiscovery project management is a new, evolving specialty and does not yet have its own professional, industry-recognized certifications. There are, however, eDiscovery project management training programs and organizations that issue project manager credentials. There is a debate within the legal profession and among service providers about the propriety of such certifications. It is, afterall, legal counsel’s duty to clients to maintain oversight and guide the eDiscovery project, so a project manager role raises questions about limitations on scope and authority. Notwithstanding, a defensible, documented work product is essential to meeting the unique objectives of every legal project and this must be at the core of a legal project manager’s responsibilities. /22 Success factors in managing legal projects Clear, frequent, comprehensive communication Alignment of the three stakeholding teams and their people A comprehensive plan that spans the entire project while linking each team’s plan A flexible attitude toward handling emerging issues and changes in course Dedicated quality control and risk management keep things level
  23. 23. /23 You need technology that extends the reach of project managers experienced in eDiscovery – technology that serves the team. Nottheother wayaround.
  24. 24. The natural business response in the Information Age, just as it was in the Industrial Age, is to look to technology to reduce and manage the costs previously associated with the human resource. This is especially tempting in the legal arena, so for twenty years companies have used what they hoped were mechanized versions of legal knowledge, data capture and document organization to replace large groups of lawyers and paralegals. In many situations, not only were cost savings negligible, the eDiscovery process, from scoping to post-project documentation, wasn’t scaling properly. In the meantime, personal mobile devices and cloud storage have expanded the universe of data and its locations. There are new efficiencies in managing both the flow of information and the documentation associated with the post-discovery legal process itself. Four structural components – web- or cloud-based systems, real-time accessibility, expanding storage and design flexibility – are re-shaping the business information landscape. For legal project management, the resulting repositories of data, the ability to search them and the capacity for reporting truly enable a comprehensive command of the legal facts and their analysis. /24Technology that serves the team Personal mobile devices and cloud storage have expanded the universe of data and its locations.
  25. 25. Law schools are still producing lawyers at a fast clip, but the changes in law firms – some of them propelled by technology’s proliferation – are inspiring interest in the behind-the-scenes mechanics of litigation and legal technology. More lawyers are ready to explore new ideas for how to spend their legal careers. At the same time, with the sting of a less than exemplary off-the-shelf software experience behind them, companies and their outside counsel are acknowledging the need for management of a different kind over large-scale cases that involve gigantic volumes of data to be processed through eDiscovery. All this has taken legal and information management careers outside of the law firm and the server farm to companies that specialize in making talent and technology available on a project basis. Outsourcing enables law firms to avoid hiring for peak situations and companies to avoid spending at peak rates. And outsourcing affords access to appropriate skills that are free from obligations to or connections with software packages that may be the wrong size or direction for a given project. The key is to source providers who can integrate skill-sets and appropriate technologies around the always-unique requirements of any given legal project – then provide project management skills that integrate the efforts and products of the law /25Technology that serves the team Outsourcing enables law firms to avoid hiring for peak situations and companies to avoid spending at peak rates.
  26. 26. firms, inside counsel and companies’ teams prudently. It is important to have legal backgrounds on the project management side of this equation; it’s equally important to have access to professionals who know their way around massive amounts of data, information systems, business strategies and teams of varied professional orientations. Legal project managers know how to address the concerns, the frustrations and gaps that emerge in every litigation – to manage the discovery process with the most respected national and international guidelines. For scoping and planning, the project management source must have a formula or methodology for project planning and for production of key segments of information, from review protocols to project manuals. For staffing, the project management source must be able to define the qualifications required for the project at hand and demonstrate how it recruits, tests and selects staff – from reference and background checks to any specialized training required for the project. For execution, the project management source must be able to advise inside and outside counsel on the project design and workflow – and collaborate with the technology platform supplier to build case-specific elements. /26Technology that serves the team Legal project managers know how to address the concerns, the frustrations and gaps that emerge in every litigation.
  27. 27. For quality, the project management source must demonstrate the capacity to track performance throughout the project and validate results using a variety of metrics and techniques. For communication, the project management source must use a logging system to calibrate project event reports and daily results with the strategic goals, project milestones and inevitable disruptions. Reports must be rich with data points that assure the data collection process. At the close of a legal project, the entire team – counsel, companies, managers – must be able to point to the case materials with confidence in the metrics and processes used in eDiscovery, not just the results produced through the project’s life cycle. When companies and their law firms decide to outsource legal project management, they need project managers who can make the best use of lawyers’ time and even transform the way lawyers work. These managers exist. They understand the causes /27Technology that serves the team When companies and their law firms decide to outsource legal project management, they need project managers who can make the best use of lawyers’ time.
  28. 28. of inefficiency and can drive productivity and quality. They are experienced in project management. They know eDiscovery. They will employ the best technology resources and project management methodologies to service the project, the clients and the team – removing past constraints and limits from legal projects and teams, enabling a secure, sound and optimal result. /28 Success factors in leveraging the right project technology A professional resource that specializes in staffing legal professionals Review facilities scaled to fit every project for the term of the project A staffing methodology that includes executive, team and reporting practices An online project management portal featuring dashboards with advanced metrics Geographic reach of the highest quality and scale Technology that serves the team
  29. 29. /29 About Kelly® Legal Managed Services Kelly is the one source for clients who seek people with process expertise in legal issues and workforce management. Kelly focuses on seamless integration and strategic collaboration. Kelly applies its decades of experience in the legal industry, in sourcing high-caliber professionals, and in finding innovative solutions to the requirements established by lawyers and executives. Besides identifying and addressing each client and team member’s point of pain, Kelly experts apply their knowledge of safety, quality, compensation, recruiting, retention and technology to each aspect of every project. Kelly considers a key measure of its project management philosophy to be measured in the stability of client operations and best- in-class performance. Kelly strives to increase efficiency and reduce costs for every client. Working within guidelines of established project management principles, Kelly people are equipped to emphasize what is important every day and in the context of every client business strategy. Kelly upholds the integrity of its performance and that of its client by enabling clients to retain control and direction. The purpose is the delivery of a documented, memorialized and defensible work product that fulfills the legal and business strategies of the Kelly client.
  30. 30. About the Authors Gary M. Buckland is Vice President and Practice Lead Global Managed Solutions with KellyOCG® . He oversees sales, operations and the strategic direction of Kelly Legal Managed Services, which specializes in legal outsourcing, eDiscovery solutions, managed document review and workforce solutions for top law firms and corporate legal departments. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business management and marketing from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Jeffrey Schultz, National Legal Project Management, is responsible for the operations and management of attorney document review projects undertaken by Kelly Legal Managed Services (KLMS). He supervises the execution of cost-effective and efficient projects, which deliver defensible, documented and memorialized work-product. Throughout his career, he has lead many large-scale document review projects and trained project managers, team leaders and reviewers on the essential eDiscovery procedures for generating timely and effective deliverables to law firms and corporate clients. EXIT About KellyOCG KellyOCG® is the Outsourcing and Consulting Group of workforce solutions provider Kelly Services, Inc. KellyOCG is a global leader in innovative talent management solutions in the areas of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Contingent Workforce Outsourcing (CWO), including Independent Contractor Solutions, Human Resources Consulting, Career Transition and Executive Coaching, and Executive Search. KellyOCG was named in the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals® 2014 Global Outsourcing 100® list, an annual ranking of the world’s best outsourcing service providers and advisors. Further information about KellyOCG may be found at kellyocg.com. For more thought leadership go to talentproject.com

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