Litigation Support

Trial Support A - Z Series - Litigation Legal Project Management (Blog, Podcast and Resources)

By Julie Ruse posted 05-09-2016 17:44


Recorded March 2016

In this Podcast recording for the series on Trial Support A-Z,  Karen Pierson and Patrice Fatig provide a high-level overview of legal project management. They also provide some suggested resources to enhance project management skills (the links to these resources are below).  Follow the lifecycle of a litigation case as Karen and Patrice discuss the responsibilities of legal project management:

Listen to the podcast here


The major points covered in the podcast include:

  • What is legal project management and what dictates project style

  • Who is the project manager (PM)

  • What a PM is responsible for

  • How to become a legal PM


            Legal project management for litigation covers the life cycle of a litigation case. Not all cases are the same.  The style of project management is often dictated by the type and size of the case.  Determining this is often easier for those with experience and education – but don’t be afraid to volunteer.   Experience is the reward.  There are official training courses in project management (paralegal study programs, Project Management Institute). 

            Project management involves the organization and communication with a team to accomplish a specific goal.   The role of the PM is to keep communication, tasks and goals centralized and organized.   The PM cannot do it alone, as Karen and Patrice point out, the legal project is like a boat – if the PM is the only one rowing then the boat will only go in a circle.  Delegating tasks to the subject matter experts [IT, Litigation Support, Vendors] will help keep projects going and timelines met.

            Karen and Patrice share their experience with using tools to help track the progress and tasks of projects.   For example, dedicating a calendar for the project helps keep the project organized.  Using the tools your team is familiar with is important, tools like Outlook, Excel, and SharePoint, or a hard copy calendar.  The PM schedules the frequency of meetings and prepares agenda and notes.  Make sure to have notes available soon after meetings – this will help keep everyone on track and tasks fresh in the minds of busy people.

            The role of the PM will change during the course of a case.  From the complaint to discovery, deposition, trial and post-trial, the role of the PM will be less active in some phases and more active in others. Be flexible and willing to pitch in with any and all tasks.  Keep your sanity!  You may be the rock other team members rely on. Be prepared to answer the call.


Here are links to additional information on legal project management:

ILTA Whitepaper:  Project Management

ILTA  “Become the envy of your team with project management”  

Georgetown has CLE in legal project management  

Legal Project Management Certification:\  

ILTA Example:  Excel file of Case Tasks and Tracking


Listen to the podcast on Legal ProjectManagement here