Communication is key. How many times have you heard that phrase? You don’t have to respond. I already know the answer. It’s probably too many times to count. Well, get ready to hear it at least once more, because I am about to tell you again.
When working as a team on a Legal Project Management (LPM) matter, communication is key to success. Just as athletes need to communicate on the field, project management teams need proper communication to move forward effectively and efficiently.
Bright Hub Project Management offers some advice for promoting communication within your team.
Create a Communication Plan
When planning a legal project, you take many factors into consideration. Why not include a communication plan to ensure that the lines remain open throughout the duration of the project? It doesn’t have to be some elaborate scheme, just strategize ways to ensure communication from the top down, as well as among peers.
A weekly group meeting or a conference call may be sufficient. For more challenging projects, daily check-ins may prove necessary.
Also include communication between the project representative and the client. It’s important to keep the client reasonably updated on the status of the matter. By including this task in your written communication plan, you help strengthen the attorney-client relationship.
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Know When to Disregard the Plan
As with everything in the legal world, there is always an exception to the rule. While a communication plan is valuable, there will also be times when it becomes completely useless.
Maybe opposing counsel filed an unexpected emergency motion, or the judge scheduled a surprise status hearing. These types of bombshells require immediate action. Waiting until the next scheduled conference call is not an option. At these times, the best plan is to forget the plan and communicate with the appropriate team members immediately.
Create a Safe Environment
The best part of collaboration is the meshing of different ideas. However, your team members will not feel comfortable voicing their thoughts within a group where they feel rejected or ridiculed. The team leader must promote an environment where everyone is encouraged to participate.
Move away from criticisms and blame. Instead focus on collaborative problem solving and accomplishments. If team members feel that their input is valued, they will be more likely to speak up when asked to do so.
Promote an understanding that the team functions as a whole, working towards one common goal. Remind members that the interests of one person can never outweigh the collective interest of the team in successfully completing the matter at hand.
Successful implementation of LPM requires constant and productive communication among the team. If members are uninformed about the tasks of other team members, they become disconnected from the main goal. It’s always helpful to see the big picture, even when you are only working on one small corner. With these tips, you can create an LPM team where communication is key to success. (Now, you’ve heard it two more times)
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.