You just passed the bar exam and now you are ready to hang your shingle and open your doors to clients.
You’ve read all of my articles about Legal Project Management (LPM) and how it can be a useful tool for law practices. You are interested in implementing these strategies, but as a new attorney with no experience to reference, you have no idea where to start.
While it’s true that successful LPM is partly based on previous work experiences, there are ways for a new attorney to gain the necessary information and implement LPM within a new legal practice.
Do Your Research and Make an Educated Estimation
As with any new legal case, do your research to fully understand the matter and what is required to obtain a positive outcome. I’m not just talking about substantive research though.
To implement a comprehensive LPM plan, you need to know how much time the matter generally requires. As you identify the individual steps, think about what they require and place an educated time estimate on each one. Notice, I used the word educated. LPM planning requires just that… planning.
Pulling time frames and fee estimates out of the blue will undermine the entire process and possibly leave you with a disgruntled client. Once you have completed your research for each identified step and made an educated estimate, you can create an appropriate project plan.
Learn profitable benefits of Legal Project Management
Consult Your Network
As a new attorney, your network of fellow lawyers is extremely valuable and this is one reason. When faced with a new matter, don’t be afraid to ask for guidance. If you know of an attorney who routinely handles a specific type of case, ask her how long these matters generally take. Perhaps she will be willing to walk you through the various steps over lunch.
If you are interested in charging a flat fee, inquire about an appropriate amount and use that as a gauge to determine your own rate. You will find that many established attorneys are happy to provide some guidance to young lawyers. (They may even prove to be excellent referral resources, giving you cases they do not have time to complete.)
If you don’t have a network in place, turn to your state bar association for assistance. Most bars have a young lawyers division and they may be able to point you in the direction of a helpful mentor.
Legal project management is a viable option for any practice, no matter how new or established. With the right tools, you can implement plans that keep your office profitable and satisfy your clients.
It’s important to note that successful implementation does require the right tools, such as legal billing software that supports LPM features and helps to keep projects on track. TimeSolv legal billing software offers numerous features that promote LPM. Click here to get started with a free 30-day trial.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a Virginia based writer with a passion for all things legal. As a former domestic relations attorney, she understands the challenge of determining the best fee structure for your practice. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.
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