Why lawyers in Ukraine do not use project management systems?

We guarantee the food for meditation and the effective ways of business optimization for all legal sector after reading this article

11/12/2018 16:40:35
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Carefully analyzed the current state of Ukrainian legal companies market we have arrived at a very disappointing conclusion - the percentage of the companies in this sphere, using the project management as a business organizational approach, is extremely low. Only the very few firms really understand all the importance and the necessity of integration the project part into existing corporate program software.

Thus, the vast majority of the legal sector lose the opportunity to maximally optimize the internal business processes in the company, streamline the relations with customers and to obtain the total transparency in the business affairs, billing issues and define properly the terms due which the work must be done.

Today, project management - is not a modern term anymore. It is “must have” for each company and to prove this statement we want to remind you the life axiom: “The best lawyer is a manager with the legal diploma”. Actually, in the legal business environment we can quite often face with the next lawyer’s positioning: highly-skilled professional, who counts basically on its forces, unwillingly works in a team and really result-oriented.

However, the aforesaid approach has its disadvantages: the necessity of constant top management's control, multiple efforts to build an effective workflow and internal communications, expense tracking and improving the team-work. All these processes can be automated and systematically organized by the usage of project management logic and the relevant functions.


Let’s consider more about what is the legal project management and how this approach solves significant problems in real business word context.


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Legal project management can be defined as the “application of project management principles and practices to enhance the delivery of legal services” (by International Institute of Legal Project management). One of the main reason why foreign law companies used to contribute project management approach in their practices is the client market demand for fixed priced legal services. This is a historic shift from a   lawyer progressing work and charging for their time as they go, to a model where an accurate quote can be given upfront. Clients are now wanting to better understand the legal costs and limit their risk of high expenses for legal work that could lead to their financial loss even when they win the legal case, making better-informed decisions about whether to pursue a legal pathway or not (IILPM).  

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Obviously, companies need to have their project management structure and framework to enable themselves define a budget, research the problem, assign and divide the responsibilities - for law corporations still is critical to know whether they will get a profit or not. 

 

Without the doubt, fixed prices aren’t a solely driver of project management usage, as foreign law firms are getting more competitive, trying to increase their effectiveness, proficiency and build the consecutive process, starting from the formulating a contract agreement, upholding the testament or disputing it, giving the testimonies, empowering or starting the significant court process. All of the mentioned above actions have the typical stages, which could be analyzed with the prior aim - to create a standardized work breakdown structure for each legal matter type.

International law corporations, famous in a legal sector, use the project management in their way of business processes organization:

PwC Legal, KPMG Law, Macfarlanes, Slater Gordon Solutions Legal etc.

The American company LexisNexis, has conducted a research of the main trends of the international legal business in 2017, states:

“It is generally accepted that law firms are trying to implement better project management systems and methods, but the general consensus is that they remain far behind the stage where they should be.” (LexisNexis Company Survey 2017 -Amplifying the voice of the client in law firms). 

Thus, comparing our foreign law colleagues, who pay the extensive attention to the project management processes with the Ukrainian lawyers, we must note the controversial attitude of the Ukrainian employees and top-management, which significantly balk on their potential development.

Hence, we would like to turn the Ukrainian legal sector attention on the 10 reasons, why it is better to implement project management techniques in your companies: 

 


Improve the consistency of your services with client expectations;


Provide a framework for determining the scope of work and cost analysis;


Significantly reduce the risk of alternative billing models (unite time-billing system);


Track plans and streamline stuff tasks loading;


Keep contact details of customers and project history in a single system;


Increase the durability and reduce the stress in your teams;


Promote knowledge management within teams;


Qualitatively improve teamwork and delegate responsibilities;


Provide a competitive advantage;


To achieve stability in the future;


 

CONCLUSIONS

In 2018 and the years to go legal services market’s reality resides in the fact: project management skills are considered as the essential alongside with the law education and highly professional competency.

The United Kingdom leads the series of countries, where the project management approaches are valued a lot in the legal sector, followed then by the United States and Australia. Again and again we remind Ukrainian lawyers about the necessity to use project management - in fact the efficient implementation of the mentioned approaches guarantee companies to obtain the streamline business processes, accurate planning, an opportunity to precisely estimate the team members tasks loading, clear pricing, and online time-billing plus other individual needs in the terms of project management. We definitely believe that soon Ukraine will be a part of the list of countries, actively using project management in the legal sector.

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