With the global drive toward alternate price arrangements and fixed pricing, the international interest in legal project management and the new role of the legal project manager is growing in popularity.
Legal project management can be defined as the application of project management principles and practices to enhance the delivery of legal services. A recent study of legal project managers across 9 different countries highlighted that the term was not just about implementing project practices, but included:
- technology enablement;
- process improvement; and
- people leadership.
It provides a focus on efficient systems and processes, team accountability and greater communications and key stakeholder engagement. Most important, it provides a way to work that gets results and allows for performance tracking.
The key challenge found in the study was the inconsistent application of LPM worldwide, which has now been addressed through the publication of the Legal Project Management Competency Framework (LPMCF).
This global standard defines the key knowledge and skill competencies of those supporting and working in legal matter project teams (referred to as project associates), and those who lead legal matters (referred to as project practitioners). It will help guide universities, colleges and training organisations in the development of quality legal project management education. It also helps law practices be able to have the assurance of quality training, and a means for practitioners to be recognised through international certification. It focused on the training, certification and qualification options for both legal project associates and practitioners.
Early in the research, the need for a global certifying body was recognised and led to the establishment of the International Institute of Legal Project Management (IILPM) that was formed in March 2017 based on the findings of the LPMCF and industry feedback. The IILPM already has a global reach of training organisations in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Spain (known as Accredited Training Providers), as well as offering online eLearning programs for those unable to attend face to face training or needing fast access to education.
This Institute provides the following internationally-recognised legal project management certifications:
- the Legal Project Associate certification that focuses on those supporting legal matters, and working in legal matter project teams, and
- the Legal Project Practitioner certification that focuses on those leading legal matters (Legal Project Manager).
It also recognises two benchmarks for project management qualifications where the content was specially legal environment based:
- the Certificate IV in Project Management Practice certification that focuses on those supporting legal matters, and working in legal matter project teams, and
- the Diploma of Project Management certification that focuses on those leading legal matters.
- The global competency model will help law firms and recruiters validate skills of potential and current employees, and enables graduates to promote their own competencies in the competitive job marketplace.
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