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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

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Legal Project Management: Bringing co-ordination and assurance in challenging times

The current widespread remote working conditions that our own teams and our clients' teams have been forced to adopt, brings a host of new challenges when considering the management of large and cross border projects.

We ask our LPMs about some of these challenges they've been facing and what they can do to help resolve them.

Effective collaboration

Tracy Lau, Legal Project Manager, Singapore

"The impact of everyone working from home can reduce the transparency and visibility of the status of the overall project. In turn this can lead to clients questioning the status and progress as they strive to understand the position and proactively update their internal stakeholders.

One way I've been helping my clients is to achieve connectivity across all teams. This includes working with our IT teams to ensure we are equipped with the appropriate technology for virtual meetings. For example, being able to provide screen sharing function and/or video conferencing function for numerous meeting participants, monitoring the technology during the meetings and escalating any technical issues in a timely manner to ensure smooth running of meetings. Having the right technology platform can go a long way to helping all parties feel connected and up to date."

New solutions

Caroline Flanagan, Senior Legal Project Manager, London

"Many traditional ways of working are not viable when everyone is working from home and require a new approach. For example, managing the execution of documents and determining what sort of remote signing satisfies the legal requirements of the matter. This is a complex area as you need to consider the governing law of the document, the type of document that is to be signed, the form of electronic signature used (email execution, jpeg signatures and e-signature) and any cross-border implications.

As an LPM I am accustomed to anticipating obstacles in the execution of documents and escalating issues for discussion in advance of closing. In today's circumstances we will specifically be looking to see if we need to accommodate any longer lead time items in the project plan arising from challenges in executing and couriering hard copies of executed documents. Our Legal Teams and clients are reassured to know someone is alert to the implications of these changes in our operating procedures."

Planning and communication

Pascal Weber, Legal Project Manager, Germany

"Our focus on planning, structure and co-ordination helps to ensure that milestones are met, tasks are understood and not duplicated, and any new risks are identified promptly. We set up and manage regular, short and efficient project meetings with our core teams, using video conferencing capabilities such as LoopUp and MS Teams.

In normal circumstances these meeting improve co-ordination, but in the current conditions these meetings are fundamental in providing structure, reviewing progress against the plan and ensuring accountabilities are clearly understood across both our team and the client team. Regular internal planning meetings ensure that client communications are consistent, informed and inspire confidence."

Managing risk

Aaran Scott, Senior Legal Project Manager, Global

"Confidence in in processes that used to be taken for granted now assume a new prominence with clients wanting more detail around our business continuity and risk management strategies to ensure there are adequate plans in place.

A key part of our role as legal project managers is to proactively capture risk in the project RAID (Risks, Actions, Issues and Decisions) logs, working with our partners and lawyers to ensure risks are mitigated and effectively communicated to our clients. Subsequent project status reports also help to improve client transparency of the progress, key risks and costs."

To find out more about our Legal Project Management capabilities please contact Aaran Scott.