June 21, 2011
Legal Project Management Books for Lawyers (and Private Sector Law Librarians and Members of the Legal Academy, Too)
Slaw's Ted Tjaden writes that there are relatively few substantive books on project management geared specifically to lawyers. In his recent Slaw post, he recommends two recent works because they complement each other. Levy’s Legal Project Management – Control Costs, Meet Schedules, Manage Risks and Maintain Sanity (2009) for its comprehensive treatment and Hassett's The Legal Project Management Quick Reference Guide, 2d ed. (2011) as a reference work that provides many sample tools and templates. Tjaden writes
For lawyers wanting to learn more about project management, it is a 'no brainer' to likely acquire both books and I would be hard-pressed to recommend one over the other.
For more, including a review of Hassett's recently released book see Tjaden's post on Slaw.
Do note that Tjaden calls attention to Boake and Kathuria's Project Management for Lawyers (2011). He hasn't received his copy and promises to review it on Slaw if it turns out to be a good addition to the lawyer-focused literature on project management.
My hunch is many private sector law librarians, firm and corporate, are (or should also be) reading these works. For example, Tjaden notes that he likes the fact that Levy's work includes a chapter aimed specifically at in-house counsel.
Legal Project Management to Educate Law Students to Practice Their Chosen Profession. In the good old days, the legal academy could get away with saying "we can't really teach law students to practice law." Then came clinical opportunities. Now, well, legal practice is much more IT-based (and not just online legal search). While some schools have been leaders in the introduction of and instruction in legal productivity applications (eg, Colorado for example, and based on that trend-leading example, other schools), there are no excuses other than (1) a failure of will, (2) a lack of expertise, and (3) pinhead faculty status requirements, to march forward.
It certainly wouldn't hurt legal skills profs to read these works, too. But if the non-legal skills prof community in the legal academy is not just paying lip service to the call for adding more courses to the legal skills curriculum, courses on legal project management and other legal IT courses -- not just a the use of some applications or lecture or two about them) would help educate law school grads for practicing their chosen profession. This is doable by adding Legal Technology professors with the same status as "scholarly" law profs. Yes, I know, considering the decade long struggle for legal skills profs to acquire similiar "pecking order" status, with many still related to the the less than prestgeus "clinical law prof" title, this may be a stretch. But hasn't the time come for doing this. NB: having a JD isn't required so perhaps the ABA Accredition Standards Review Committee's deliberations should be looking toward being "future ready."
BTW, in another interesting 3 Geek's "elephant post" do check out responses to the question, "Is it 'legal' project management or just project managment?" Responses include one from Steve Levy, author of Legal Project Management – Control Costs, Meet Schedules, Manage Risks and Maintain Sanity (2009). [JH]