A Day in the Life of a Legal Project Manager at Pinsent Masons
By Caryann Cook
Where to begin? When I volunteered to write a blog about a day in the life of an LPM, I found it difficult to put my thoughts in order, plan when to write the blog and estimate the time it may take so that I could slot it around my day. That in essence, is what a LPM does; scopes out what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and by whom.
Starting the Day
The day begins with a quick scan of emails to determine if anything urgent needs my attention or may impact one of the matters I am supporting the legal team on. Whether it’s receipt of an updated procedural order from the Tribunal advising of a change to the scheduled dates in which key events or deliverables are required; counsel’s clerk confirming a QC’s availability to attend court, an update from our panel eDiscovery provider regarding upload of data ahead a discovery exercise, or, the submission of an expert report, being aware of all aspects of the matters I support is key.
With LPM having a global reach and my matters spanning the Middle East and Germany, working in different time zones means that we rely heavily on technology to communicate. That said, legal project management is more than just checking emails; it’s also about building relationships with our colleagues, or legal teams, our clients, and our third party suppliers. I have regular project calls scheduled with external and internal parties, either, daily, fortnightly, or monthly. On the days that I took virtual pen to paper to write this blog, I had calls with partners in Munich to discuss progress on a high profile German litigation, MS teams call with the legal team in Doha, Dubai and Manchester to talk about the strategy and approach across a portfolio of arbitrations in the Middle East; as well as facilitating a monthly call with a client presenting updates on the progress on a group of concurrent legal matters.
Staying On Track
So that’s emails and meetings, what else fills my day? Scoping, reviewing, tracking, and monitoring is a vital part of my role. What’s the use of emails and meetings if updates, risks, lessons learned and costs are not recorded and monitored? Following a collaborative effort with the legal team and client to scope out the matter using project planning tools such as Wrike, trackers help to bring the project to life by determining if tasks, phases and deliverables are on track in respect of both time and cost. If there is any deviation from the plan or fee estimate, I can provide the legal teams and clients with a real time view of where we are and enable informative decisions to be made.
Next on to fees and costs. As it’s billing time at the point of writing this blog, using CostTool and bespoke excel spreadsheets to pull financial data into a shiny cost reporting template I’ve created for the client, I collate the data, analyse run rate versus estimate then share my thoughts with the matter team lead. This report alongside a covering email to the client detailing key activity carried out during the billed period, eliminates queries from the client and consequently the invoice is paid without quibble. Happy people all round!
As well as all this fun stuff, I’m working with my LPM colleagues to raise awareness of LPM and the good things we do and can do for our internal teams and our clients. Whether the message is delivered directly to a targeted group of partners in the Middle East by way of a presentation, or having an introductory call with Sector Business managers, branching out and making those all-important connections across the Pinsents landscape can only lead to good things, if nothing else, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people I wouldn’t have necessarily had the chance to, so and for that I’m grateful.
I’ll leave you with this, a day in the life of a Legal Project Manager can be a challenging and varied one, but one I wouldn’t do without! If you’d like to learn more about LPM feel free to reach out to any of the team and we’d be happy to tell you more!