Legal Project Management – helping lawyers to help themselves
When I joined Clifford Chance in March 2016, I was one of only three LPMs within the whole firm. This was in line with many of our peers at the time. We're now a team of 35 and, as Senior Legal Project Manager, I've played a key role in helping to build out our global capability with a client service offering that rivals best in class.
Prior to joining Clifford Chance, I was Head of Operations for a consumer law firm in the City of London. I'd been a qualified Project Manager since 2011 and when the opportunity arose to join the LPM team at Clifford Chance I jumped at it as the firm's roster of clients and type of work was a dream environment for me. Working here has enabled me to use both my commercial and project management experience on some of the largest Corporate M&A, Re-structuring and Regulatory change projects.
What makes a good Legal Project Manager?
To be a good LPM you need to be a bit of a chameleon, to be able to be build relationships with different stakeholders internally and externally. You need to be flexible, to solve problems in areas where you may not be an expert, be solution orientated, pragmatic in your approach and comfortable stretching your comfort zone. Our lawyers are usually extremely preoccupied with delivering the technical legal advice, so it's important for an LPM to be constantly scanning across the project, making sure that potential risks are identified and managed. On our largest and most complex projects LPMs can be seen as the ambassadors for our Best Delivery solutions and resources, for example, identifying packages of work that might be sent to our Delivery Centres or integrating a Legal Technology Adviser.
Your role as an LPM is to act as the 'glue' between our lawyers, clients and Business Professionals, ensuring we deliver client matters as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.
How can a team of 35 support the thousands of client matters Clifford Chance is handling every year?
Not every matter will require a dedicated project manager. However, we do believe that every matter can benefit from the capabilities and approach that an LPM brings to it. We are constantly developing our offering and finding new and smart ways to ensure that our team members and clients get full value from the Clifford Chance LPM function. This includes a 3-tier service model as part of our Global LPM toolkit. At one end we have dedicated LPMs supporting the firm's most complex client mandates. At the other, is a self-service offering that provides training and access to matter management templates, processes and tools.
Watch the video below to understand more about our 3-tier LPM service offering.