Business & Financial Management

To change or not to change? - Seeing the light of LPM

By Michelle Mahoney posted 10-18-2013 16:40


Embedding LPM is about achieving behavioural change. So what’s involved in trying to change what people do? I ask Susan Raridon Lambreth, Principal at the LawVision Group LLC and chair of the Legal Project Management Institute, to share her views in this post.





My 9 keys to embedding LPM include:


1.     Recognize that this is a significant change management initiative.  [As an aside, that is really how I got into this area.  I helped many of the AmLaw 200 firms — about half — implement practice group management including getting partner buy-in, aligning compensation incentives, etc.  This is now taking the management down to the matter level).  For a change initiative to be successful, you need to build the business case – that business as usual is not sustainable.  You need to have champions and a core group to lead the initiative – as I will describe more below.


2.     Start with a pilot group or several (probably no more than 3).  While a few firms started with a top-down approach, most have started with two or three matter teams that were interested in changing the way they work.  Each pilot needs at least one champion. 


3.     Where possible, provide coaches to the matter teams to provide advice, hold them accountable, push them toward their goals, etc. 


4.     When one or more of the pilots "take off"/are successful, communicate that to the rest of the firm.  In some firms, this has been through partner retreats for example.  Use success to generate more interest in additional pilots or more widespread adoption.


5.     Train the "volunteers" - lawyers who want to be part of training, rather than forcing the reluctant sceptics to do it -- at least for the first round of training.


6.     Where you have the right resources, get your internal trainers trained to be trainers and coaches to sustain the initiative. 


7.     Align the compensation/remuneration incentives to support (or at least not dis-incentivise) LPM.  For example, some firms are adding matter profitability to their metrics for individual partner compensation – rather than just gross revenues they generate.


8.     Have a multi-disciplinary group leading the initiative – representing finance/pricing, IT, BD, practice management, LPM (if you have them), business intelligence (if not already in finance or BD), etc.  LPM can and should be an approach that builds bridges across any silos on the professional management side of the firm if they exist and the final key,


9.     Top management support is important and preferred but some firms have been successful initially without a lot of firm management support.



Thanks so much Susan. I really liked your point about building the business case to help others ‘see the light.’ Remember to keep following as we continue to share insights from global industry leaders on how to make LPM part of daily practice life.


 Until then,