eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Best Practices: Legal Project Management is the Same as Project Management


I found this article (Holy semantics Batman! There is no such thing as ‘legal project management’) which provides a good look at legal project management on the Legal IT Professionals site from Jeffrey Brandt, a previous thought leader interviewee of eDiscovery Daily.  I like this article for two reasons:

  • References to the Old Batman TV Series: Like the author, I watched every episode of the show back in the day, so I had to appreciate the analogy of putting the prefix “Bat” on everything (e.g., “Batcave”, “Batmobile”, “Shark Repellent Bat Spray”, etc.) to adding “legal” to “project management”.  It also gave me the opportunity to re-link to one of very first posts, which has a link at the bottom to a snippet from the old Batman series that always makes me laugh.
  • Clarification as to the Differentiation of ‘Legal Project Management’: According to the author, there is no differentiation.

The author notes that “The underpinnings and basic tenets of project management are 1) accomplishing a defined goal or set of goals; 2) working within a specific time line; and 3) working within a set of defined resources (most often personnel and cost). That can be applied to literally anything.”

True.  While I don’t necessarily believe that an experienced project manager can just “waltz” into managing legal-related projects with no knowledge of the legal industry and what the issues are, the best practices of project management are the same, regardless of the type of project being managed.

For example, I manage rollout coordination for our review platform, OnDemand®.  In a past life, I used to develop, but now I’m too far removed from the process to write web code, implement server configurations or fully understand all of the differences between the different versions of SQL Server.  My primary focus in the rollout management role is to coordinate communication between the developers, testers and support staff to make sure we stay on schedule for each software release to get as many of the proposed features as ready for rollout as possible.  Every time I try to get too much into the details of development, I get in trouble.  Just ask the development staff!  😉

So, what do you think?  Is there a difference between ‘legal project management’ and ‘project management’?   How much legal industry experience do you need to have to manage legal-related projects?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Full disclosure: I work for Trial Solutions, which provides SaaS-based eDiscovery review applications FirstPass® (for first pass review) and OnDemand® (for linear review and production).