Legal Project Management
Legal project management is the application of the concepts of project management to the control and management of legal cases or matters.
I am certified in the fundamental skills in legal project management by the American
LPM Institute, the first project management certification program designed specifically for the legal profession.
In July 2018, I completed studies with Susan Raridon Lambreth learning how to integrate project management principles, skills, processes and behaviors into management of legal matters on a day-to-day basis. This enables me to achieve clear and measurable productivity and efficiency improvements in legal work, and a real ability to budget, predict, and manage costs and fees associated with legal matters.
Costs disclosure before settlement
The Legal Profession Uniform Law (LPUL) requires costs disclosure before settlement: s.177 LPUL. Section 177, properly construed, means clients must know how much money will be put in their pocket, or taken from it if the matter settles.
Failure to disclose has 4 consequences for lawyers:
- the lawyer's costs agreement is void
- the client need not pay the lawyer's legal costs until they have been assessed—at the lawyer's cost
- the lawyer must not commence or maintain proceedings to recover the legal costs until they have been assessed—at the lawyer's cost, and
- the lawyer's failure may constitute unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct—and in the case of solicitors, by any principal of the law practice.
When calculating how much money will be put in a client's pocket, or taken from it, lawyers sometimes apply the Denuto Principle, made famous by the fictional solicitor Denis Denuto in the motion picture The Castle when addressing the Federal Court:
"In summing up, it’s the constitution, it’s Mabo, it’s justice, it’s law, it’s the vibe and aah no that’s it, it’s the vibe. I rest my case."
The Denuto Principle seldom discharges professional obligations. But, there is a better way.
My costs disclosure settlement computer is an intuitive electronic spreadsheet designed to make identification of, and compliance with, professional obligations easy. It automates just about everything dull and mathematical. Lawyers must focus on only 2 things:
- their own costs, and
- their own experience of costs assessment (also known as taxation of costs).