Working together to professionalise legal project management part two
This is a continuation of our article released in February, Working together to professionalise legal project management.
The final (for now) piece of external collaboration is Aaran Scott co-launching the LPM Network along with founding members Vennisa Amin, Head of Legal Project Management at Barclays, Kevin O'Sullivan, Director of Legal Project Management at Baker McKenzie, Helga Butcher, Interim Head of Legal Project Management and Process Improvement (EMEA) at Ashurst, Kate Bassett, Global Head of Legal Project Management & Process Improvement at Ashurst, and Dee Tamlin, Head of Legal Project Management at Pinsent Masons.
The LPM Network is an extension of the former LPM Consortium which, Aaran said, worked really well for a number of years as a forum to network and share best practice ideas. Recognising that LPM functions in all markets are all facing similar challenges around skillsets, development opportunities and career paths, the refreshed Network has been formed as a collaborative, not-for-profit group to address and support LPMs to overcome these challenges. Its efforts are centred around four key pillars:
- LPM skills and competencies: an industry competency matrix aimed at existing and aspiring LPM professionals regardless of previous experience or skills.
- Competency-based workshops: a series of webinars and in-person meetings with a range of speakers, discussing important topics and how they apply competencies in their day-to-day roles.
- Community and support: a virtual and in-person community, to discuss challenges, share ideas, best practices, and brainstorm the future of LPM.
- Professional development: future partnerships with education institutions and training providers to develop a range of accredited training courses for new and existing LPM professionals.
A key ambition for the Network is to widen the pool of talent coming in to the LPM market as they recognise that the profession would benefit from a more diverse talent base. Over the last five years, available talent hasn't kept up with demand, so a key question is how to attract and train new talent? That could be project managers from different industries and disciplines, retraining lawyers to become project managers or taking people at the start of their careers and giving them apprenticeships and other alternative legal career pathways, which Clifford Chance and other firms have already initiated.
Aaran explains the impact they hope this work will have on the profession: "This is the start of establishing standard skills and competencies for legal project managers, similar to what you would have for lawyers in a jurisdiction. In due course, we will be looking to partner with educational providers to create accredited project management courses because we recognise that what is currently available in the market, doesn't quite meet the requirements of legal project manager: if it has a legal basis, there's not enough project management, and if it's too technically project management it doesn't relate sufficiently to the business of law. We're trying to focus on the skills and competencies that we think make a good legal project manager and then partner with local specialists to create accredited consistent training that can be delivered by regional providers. What we've got currently is lots of different training providers and everyone claiming accreditation. We want to create consistency and a baseline for what future LPMs can expect in terms of professional development and proper, accredited training.
Ross Freeguard, another of the Senior LPMs at Clifford Chance and also an enthusiastic advocate of the LPM Network, said: "The plan is to hold a number of in-person and virtual events in 2022 where we will start to walk through the competency framework that has been created by some of the market leading LPM functions as an industry standard, a definition of what good legal project management looks like. We can then start to base all of our training and skills development around a consistent framework."
Vennisa Amin, Head of Legal Project Management at Barclays, added "This independent collaboration between clients and law firms is an exciting initiative to be part of, working together to define how we can support our lawyers and our clients better in the future, and ensure that we are all achieving the best return on their investment in this function."
If you’d like to find out more, you can sign-up to the LPM Network use this link and start receiving communications on upcoming activities.