Challenges For Lawyers: Project Management Essentials

Challenges For Lawyers: Project Management Essentials

This series of reflections are based on a work developed as complementary handouts for workshops on M&A topics realised originally for the AIJA Winter Session of 2020.

First things first

  1. Start always from defining or describing and sharing the main goal of the project. What do you want to achieve for your client?
  2. Based on the goal, define decision criteria that will allow you to set up a proper team, identify and distribute tasks and make strategic operational decisions.
  3. Design an action plan that is sustainable.

Team Setup

People are not motivated by you, but by what they want and what they can do well (see the Personal Effectiveness Curve as a reference).

Ask your colleagues what they can do best, like to do best, and want or need to to; assess whether their skillset and motivation covers your needs as a project team. 

If not, negotiate a different engagement (if motivation is the issue), or ask for new resources.

A team that has not the necessary competencies and engagement needed for a project will turn into extra costs and become a bigger problem than any upgrade you may identify as a need in the setup or even offer phase.

Less is more

One of the most common missteps by engaged lawyers who want to take project management serious, is to paradoxically make it too precise.  

A plan you want to follow and, most of all, want others to stick to needs to be as simple as possible.

Be specific in defining the goal and setting up the team, but give your colleagues the necessary space to express their professionalism taking ownership and self-management.

For your side, focus on coordinating, set milestones and be available if needed.

We are well aware that these inputs are just the tip of the iceberg. They are meant as a
teaser and starter for your own reflections.