Prior articles have addressed using project management and effective communication to improve the efficiency, defensibility and cost-effectiveness of e-discovery projects. Legal project management (LPM) —a subcategory of project management—can be specifically tailored to meet the needs of e-discovery projects. However, LPM has added benefits beyond e-discovery. LPM and available LPM tools can help law firms better manage the entire litigation, not just e-discovery, with a corresponding reduction in cost through greater efficiencies.
Project management is generally defined as a process of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to achieve specific goals. LPM takes these general concepts and applies them to the management of both litigation and non-litigation matters. While LPM is particularly suited for managing e-discovery, which often has a set of standard, repeatable and measurable practices, LPM has the added benefit of increased efficiency and cost reduction for legal matters as a whole through task management, case planning, scheduling, risk assessment and cost controls.
These technology tools are typically software-based. While these programs have different features and methods of implementing those features, they also have some common components. For example, many programs have a standard file structure giving authorized team members centralized access to key categories of documents (e.g., pleadings, correspondence, email, e-discovery, transcripts, etc.).
In addition, some form of project planning template is used that allows users to add projects and then track project status, including project milestones, project completion and time spent completing the project (or sub-projects). Other features can include meeting planning tools, case calendars, case blog entries, case wiki entries, Gantt charts, case schedules and budget tracking.