Edge International

Do You Want Swiss With That?

Doug Richardson and Pamela Woldow

The unabated growth, diversification, consolidation and geographical sprawl of law firms has reached the point where they might better be called “legal service delivery engines” — huge machines designed to capitalize on economies of scale, global footprints, cross-border referrals, myriad offices and specialized practice groups and client service teams.

Think and Do: The battle between autonomy and collaboration

Doug Richardson

The complex interdependencies of today’s legal world reward team collaboration as much as individual legal skills. Yet some experts claim that collaboration stifles creative problem solving and that originality is hindered by “Groupthink.” Read on for a spirited analysis of the crucial interface between independent “thinking” and collective “doing,” particularly in managing complex legal projects.

Creating a “Communication Engine” through Legal Project Management

Doug Richardson and Pamela Woldow

Communication lapses are far more than simple misunderstandings or irritations: in the highly complex world of the modern legal transaction, they can derail a major project and fatally damage the lawyer-client relationship. Legal project management practices and principles can revolutionize the way lawyers and clients talk to each other and among themselves.

As communicators, most lawyers — especially those in law firms — tend to think they stand at the apex of the human communication food chain and that they are far superior to non-lawyers in their communications skills. If you’re not sure, just ask them.

Managing the self-limiting lawyer: New perspectives on professional development

Doug Richardson

Perfectionist lawyers who crave unblemished success and endless positive reinforcement are likely never to reach their full potential and are at serious risk of burnout and loss. Law firm and law department leaders owe these lawyers and their organizations solutions to their self-limiting behavior.

Productivity is on the minds of legal leaders and managers these days, whether they reside in-house, are law firm captains, or serve as practice group leaders charged with getting optimal output from the troops. Firms and legal departments are going to extraordinary lengths to maximize lawyer efficiency, including implementing Legal Project Management, shelling out for the latest software tools, or retooling leverage ratios and client service teams.

Ten steps to trust: why it matters and how lawyers can achieve it

Doug Richardson

Lawyers are notoriously slow to trust. But in law’s “new normal” that demands collaboration, trust problems become business problems no lawyer can afford. Here are ten factors to consider in your effort to build greater levels of trust and achieve better outcomes in your client relationships.

Take a moment, if you will, and think back to a legal project that came up short, or a legal relationship that imploded, because some of the players didn’t trust each other. Review the life-cycle of that interaction, and try to parse the causes and consequences. What really happened? Was trust lacking from the outset? Did a promising opportunity fall victim to a loss of trust over time, or did things just seem to go belly-up all of a sudden?

This isn’t just an exercise in retroactive finger-pointing. This exercise matters, because trust is becoming an essential element in the success of any and all legal enterprises. The modern legal environment demands unprecedented levels of collaboration — among colleagues, between practice groups, among lawyers and firm administration, with clients, between lawyers and regulators, and even with adversaries.

Reflections for Legal Project Managers

Doug Richardson

In her article on legal project management (LPM) on page 4, Pam Woldow describes the characteristics and benefits of legal project management — what it looks like, how it improves matter management, how it leads to improved metrics and fewer surprises, how it achieves significant efficiencies, and how it fosters more interactive client relationships.

At its heart, LPM is re- ally all about collaboration. Here at Edge International, we think LPM is set to transform the way law is practiced in the future. But successful LPM implementation requires more than great blueprints and rational processes. It also requires and eventually must engender, a collaborative commitment among stakeholders. As many frustrated legal project managers will attest, that can be a tall order when the cats you’re trying to herd are lawyers.