Legal Project Management

Clients expect more from their outside counsel than ever – more efficient solutions, more accurate and transparent budgeting, more right-sized staffing, more predictable pricing, and more innovative use of technology. And rightly so. CEOs and CFOs expect more from their in-house legal teams, and they expect them to do it with less.

One specific demand, as reflected with increasing urgency in surveys such as Altman Weil’s annual survey of chief legal officers, is for more effective project management. Clients, of course, have been using project management for decades to control costs, mitigate risk, and speed up time to market. They recognize the value. As one law department operations director recently told Inside Counsel magazine, “Next to a cost-effective e-discovery program, legal project management has the greatest return on investment of time and resources.”

They expect the same from their outside law firms, and they believe legal project management (LPM) to drive value by, among other things, making budgets and schedules more predictable and encouraging proactive efficiency among outside law firms.

That’s where ClientSync™ comes in.

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ClientSync: Driving Client Service to New Levels

ClientSync is our proprietary legal project management program. As conceived and developed by McGuireWoods, it combines people, technology, process improvement and project management to deliver unparalleled value to our clients.

Through ClientSync, we tailor our service offerings to the specific needs and goals of each client. We collaborate with clients to better scope, budget, and manage their matters. We enhance transparency and communications to assure there are no unnecessary surprises in our work together. In the process, we expand our knowledge of your business and fortify our long-term relationship.

There are many benefits to ClientSync. Complex matters are properly scoped and defined, staffing is aligned with client needs, and budgets and timetables are designed to advance client operational and strategic goals.

While most lawyers are, to some extent, project managers, our dedicated ClientSync program brings a rigor and focus to matter management that makes a very real difference. Our attorneys identify client priorities and make sure our services timely and cost-effectively advance those priorities. This frees clients and their counsel to focus on the mission-critical legal aspects of the case, which translates into better results. That’s more-for-less in action.

How It Works

ClientSync is not a tool. It is a program, and a mind-set, which provides a roadmap to incorporating legal project management principles into our legal matters. There are, however, tools involved. But they are a means to an end, which is to use everything available to us to enhance service and optimize value.

One key ingredient is a tool. It’s called Compass™ and it was developed by the McGuireWoods technology group with input from attorneys and clients. Our lawyers and project managers use Compass for budgeting and then for tracking work, in real time, performed on legal matters against the budgets or fee estimates we’ve agreed upon with our clients. Compass makes it easy for us to keep you fully up to date on how your matters are progressing. When something unpredictable happens, which is not unusual in complex litigation and transactions, our lawyers and clients are positioned to adjust to changed circumstances immediately. That elevates efficiency, cost control and communication.

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A Robust Program Tailored to Suit Your Needs

There are other key elements of our ClientSync program that we leverage to advance our clients’ legal and business goals. These include:

  • practicing lawyers dedicated to LPM who serve as program leaders and provide strategic LPM advice to clients;
  • a practicing lawyer overseeing our engagement in structuring alternative fee arrangements;
  • a ClientSync liaison within each department responsible for engaging the department in ClientSync;
  • an array of tools and techniques specifically designed to assist with matter scoping and planning;
  • sample budgets and task code lists for different types of matters;
  • extensive experience with a wide variety of alternative fee arrangements used successfully with clients of all types;
  • process maps for planning and guiding workflow on complex matters; and
  • databases crafted specifically for matter and knowledge management and dedicated to leveraging prior experience to avoid “reinventing the wheel.”

Carter Arey, a senior counsel with extensive experience leading and managing transactional matters, oversees ClientSync. She dedicates her time exclusively to the ClientSync program and is focused on assuring that LPM is engrained in our attorneys’ practices, and in assisting them, and our clients, with getting maximum advantage from the tools we’ve developed to manage matters efficiently and predictably. Carter is Yellow Belt-certified in Legal Lean Sigma by the Legal Lean Sigma Institute, and has completed numerous legal project management workshops. Our ClientSync team consults regularly with clients and is available at your request.