Pam Woldow and Doug Richardson penned a terrific post, Top 5 Bad Excuses for Resisting Legal Project Management. I wanted to compliment them and share some thoughts on the 5 excuses.
1. My clients don’t want or need LPM.
I had to laugh when I read this. Most lawyers who talk about what their clients don’t want have never asked the client directly. They simply infer this viewpoint from the fact the client hasn’t insisted on use of LPM. I mean, really. Try to imagine this conversation.
Lawyer: Would you like us to do your work efficiently, in an order that made sense, and was within agreed-upon budgets?
Client: Absolutely not. I won’t stand for it. If you operate efficiently and bill me less, I will fire you.
To quote one of the great philosophers of our time, Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.”
2. If we are efficient, we won’t make as much money. (And the corollary: if we are efficient, we won’t be able to meet our annual hours requirement.)
This, of course, fits in perfectly with the “my clients don’t want this” excuse. At least people who mouth this excuse are being honest about why they are stealing from their clients. But this is a stark illustration of the failed business model that most law firms cling to. Try to imagine this excuse being used in any other profession or business.
3. I’ve practiced the way I do for decades, and I’m not going to change now.
The blather illustrates why the eight worst words in the English language are “because that’s the way I’ve done it before.” Being so closed-minded is not an attribute, it is an indictment. I only hope these lawyers have the courage to say this in front of their clients, who would be fired if they uttered this excuse.
4. All my matters are unique, and LPM imposes a bunch of lockstep protocols that will standardize all legal work and devalue my legal judgment.
I’ve referred to this excuse as the “we’re special” excuse. Want a list of highly customized work reliant on project management for successful execution. Instead of proclaiming how special you are, perhaps you should just wear this.
5. LPM is all about monitoring and metrics, and my mamma didn’t raise me to be a math major. Also, LPM will impose a whole new learning curve and add a ton of additional work to my already overburdened schedule.
This person is the first cousin of the person in no. 4. It is, apparently, a shared trait that they don’t give damn about their clients need.
The tragedy is not that there are people who use these excuses, providing so much fodder for Pam and Doug to write their posts. The tragedy is this thinking, expressed or not, reflects the views of a substantial majority of lawyers.