PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR LAW FIRMS WITH LEGAL SCRUM?

30 August 2018

The legal innovation event Lexpo was a good reason to visit Amsterdam again in May. We found one of its key themes, "Legal Project Management", as the most striking topic.

Law firms put a lot of effort into providing a customer with the best possible price estimate for a new assignment. Often, there is much less focus on ensuring that the actual cost matches with the given estimate. The final invoice is essentially affected by project management skills of the responsible lawyer. In the worst case, the overrun of the agreed price cap is only noticed in the invoicing stage.


GDPR – THREE WEEKS LATER

14 June 2018

The GDPR project in CSI Helsinki started in spring 2018 when a global software company told in a webinar about the forthcoming changes in the EU legislation. The speakers got everyone’s attention by stating that infringement of the new regulation would cost them several billions of euros.

The threat of sanctions is something I’m sure everyone working with GDPR projects remembers as the first incentive to learn more about the regulation and to take action.

20 YEARS OF LAW STUDENT TRAININGS

07 June 2018

Law student trainings are a sign of spring

For us, a clear sign of spring are the CSI Lawyer trainings for law students which have maintained their popularity since the turn of the millennium. We cooperate closely with the law faculties of the Helsinki and Turku Universities, and in the five training sessions held this April there were students from both universities again.

LEXPO’18 – EXPECTATIONS FOR THE TOP LEGAL INNOVATION EVENT OF THE CONTINENTAL EUROPE

12 April 2018

Lexpo´18 focuses on knowledge

Last year was CSI's first time at Lexpo, the leading legal innovation event held in Amsterdam. The experience was so positive that we are now getting prepared for Lexpo´18 which has four themes;

  • Business Intelligence & Data Science discusses how law firms can utilize their huge amount of data to improve profitability, develop client relationships and optimize their legal services and processes.
  • Dynamic Knowledge Management ponders the ways law firms and clients are trying to reinvent knowledge management in order to gain competitive advantage.
  • The Legal Blockchain discusses practical implications of the blockchain technology on the legal industry and how law firms are beginning to work with it.
  • Legal Project Management offers practical LPM examples by renowned subject-matter experts, as many law firms are still facing challenges to embrace this concept.

KEY METRICS FOR BUSINESS SAVVY LAW FIRMS

20 February 2018

We are doing great – or are we?

Recently, I heard a story about a law firm that had employed a new CFO. The CFO naturally wanted to know how the law firm was performing. According to the managing partner they were doing great, with a nice turnover growth compared to the previous year. However, the further discussion revealed that their personnel costs had grown much more.



In other words, not so great performance unless the cost increase can be explained, for example, with investments in the development. The top line growth is important but one should never forget the bottom line when setting the company’s key metrics.

Key metrics belong to all employees

As competition gets tougher among law firms the management needs to be aware of the key metrics in order to understand, for example, how much they can afford to adjust prices without risking the profitability. To cultivate a business savvy company culture, the management should communicate consistently and via visible metrics the company’s turnover, number of new assignments, biggest clients, strongest legal areas and individual and/or team performance to all employees, too.

By communicating key metrics, a law firm makes all employees involved in the business performance and enables them to see the bigger picture, instead of focusing solely on one’s own personal work. Understanding of the status of different business metrics is crucial in order to be able to take actions to improve the results.

Awareness leading to questions > ideas > solutions

For management, it is important to look closer at the above areas and be able to drill into the data; e.g. to turnover per client or turnover per practice groups. Apart from aiming to improve performance within these areas, this enables them to detect trends earlier and to react proactively to negative trends. To keep an eye on productivity the above key metrics can be complemented with e.g. the following:

Another benefit of measuring and displaying metrics within the company is that it raises the question “what can we do to change/improve within these key areas?” and generates ideas among employees. Management’s job is to cultivate an idea welcoming culture, for among these ideas they will find solutions to any business problems.

One size does not fit all!

The above are just a few of the metrics that CSI believes should be transparently displayed and communicated throughout a business savvy organization. Measuring and reporting of key metrics belong to CSI Lawyer’s core functions.

All user groups from partners to financial assistants require relevant up-to-date information in order to work towards the law firm’s goals and to carry out their duties effectively. However, as their needs for details, skills level and even patience may vary greatly, the key metrics must be served in a format matching individual needs. Besides, you should avoid burdening people with excess or unnecessary information.

We believe in offering a set of different reporting tools from “at a glance” dashboards to quick list views, interactive pivot reports and traditional reports. They complement each other and enable a law firm to define an optimal reporting toolset for each of their user groups.

Key metrics information has very little value if not seen or understood by employees. Therefore, all efforts to making it easily available and readable certainly pay back.

6 – 10 / 16