Learning about project management methodologies may seem a bit overwhelming at times but if you start out simply with an Excel spreadsheet or a notebook/ legal pad, the basics can be achieved. Project management is really about keeping track of what you did and planning what you are going to do.
Here are some tips from a recent article by Brett Burney, an industry expert on e-discovery project management:
You can document your actions on a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, a yellow legal pad, or using one of the tools mentioned above. It doesn’t matter the medium, as long as it’s being done and can be referred to at a later date.
At a minimum, a documentation protocol should include:
- client, matter, and task;
- who requested the task (e.g., stakeholder, lawyer, client);
- date and time the task was started and completed;
- name of person who engaged or completed the task;
- notes, summary, problems encountered, resolutions;
- software and hardware used; and
- chain-of-custody considerations (where were the results delivered?).
What advice do you have for someone just getting started in e-discovery project management?
… or e-discovery in general? I recently launched a new idea at www.learnaboutediscovery.com — dynamic custom lesson plans to help you meet your e-discovery learning objectives at your own pace in a completely self-directed learning environment. These lesson plans take advantage of my many years of research as a litigation support / e-discovery project management trainer and the easily accessible information already available on the internet today.
The concept is simple: if you’re new to e-discovery or if you’ve been working in the industry for years, you may not have the time to do the research to learn a specific topic(s) or perhaps the funding to attend a conference or training class. First we discuss your learning goals, then I draft a custom plan just for you that helps you meet your learning objectives. It’s that easy. You learn what you want, on your own time.
By the way plans can be developed for entire litigation support teams, too.
The team at Project Smart in the UK has republished their e-book,21 Ways to Excel at Project Management | Project Smart as a website. Here’s the summary from their website where you can still download the original e-book.
Project Management is the dynamic process that utilises the appropriate resources of the organisation in a controlled and structured manner, to achieve some clearly defined objectives identified as strategic needs. It is always conducted within a defined set of constraints. Learn more with this eBook, written in a question and answer style, containing 21 pieces of valuable advice for making your projects a complete success.
Project Management is the buzz term for the start of this decade in the legal industry. A recent post from our Canadian friends at Slaw highlights the challenges of being a legal project manager in a fun way before they get to the reality of the role.
Is there a call for a standalone legal project manager position?
One could make a case that there are already project managers in place in e-discovery – and when there aren’t, there should be. That said, most of the e-discovery project managers I know are project managers in the Legal space rather than legal project managers.
In other words, they’re not managing legal cases (or matters or files) but rather managing one aspect of a case. That aspect is enormous, expensive, and complex, but it has a shape different from that the practice of Legal Project Management. E-discovery project management deals with a far greater level of certainties and knowable metrics than does capital-LPM Legal Project Management.
You can read the whole post and job description here
Do you agree or disagree with the author’s point of view?
Great teaching tool – ice breaker, opener to a lesson on Rule 26f
An Animated View of Lawyers at a Rule 26f Conference « e-Discovery Team.
“I’m sorry, but the truth is, most attorneys today are like the clueless plaintiff’s counsel in this vignette. They do not talk about electronic discovery at all, even though the federal rules say they should. They avoid it. They fear it, primarily because they are untrained, and do not know what to do. If opposing counsel brings it up, you are likely to get the kind of reaction you see in this video.” – eDiscovery Team
Last year, my husband and I made a life altering decision to homeschool our two youngest children aged 4 and 3 (at the time). Our daughter was about to complete a private Pre-Kindergarten program and our three year old son was at the same private school for preschool. We loved the school and I loved my job training litigation support professionals here in Atlanta. However, we felt like the high cost of tuition for private school was insane considering how young our kids were and even though we both had tremendous flexibility with our work, we asked ourselves: are we doing a good enough job with “work / life balance?” To make the drastic change to homeschool meant that I would quit my job and work on a contract / consulting basis. To date, this has worked out well because I only take on work that doesn’t interfere with our homeschool schedule and I am enjoying spending so much simple day to day quality time with my children. Our family now has memberships at every museum in Atlanta. 🙂 But this isn’t a post about homeschooling, although I’m sure I will teach them the finer points of project management by the 2nd grade. This is a post to discuss how we are all balancing our life outside of litigation support and electronic discovery with our passion for being the best e-discovery project managers on the planet.
When I worked on a litigation support team in a law firm, I was still single. No husband. No kids. And sometimes, no life. I had a gym membership (see the video for why that’s not enough). I went to happy hour with colleagues. I went to trials in exotic locations (joke) for months at a time… just long enough to forget how to cook my own meals, wash my own clothes and sleep longer than 4 hours at a time. I told myself that I would take vacations every three months to maintain my sanity… as you know intense litigation can be quite overwhelming at times. I was very strict about my vacations (well, sort of… still looked at my blackberry if there was service). I would visit family around the country, go skiing, visit the Carribean and Mexico or take a cruise. But now as I look back, I wonder if one could really call that balanced. By the time I’d left the law firm environment for a new life in sales and consulting, I didn’t have much to show for it personally except for a shiny new condo in “hip” midtown Atlanta. You’ve probably guessed by now that I met my husband post law firm. 😉
I’m no expert at work/life balance. So I’m asking you – what do you do? How are you doing it?
I recently watched the video below on the topic and would love your thoughts on how to address this as an e-discovery project manager.
Are you looking for e-discovery project management training? Kick start your education this spring by attending PRM’s paralegal conference this month in Atlanta. I’ll be one of the speakers.
Electronic Discovery (ESI) Project Management Not Crisis Management
Litigation I: March 30
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Electronic Discovery Project Management in More of a Lit Support Role
Litigation II: March 31
3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Don’t miss the only 2-day paralegal education event in Atlanta! It is more important than ever to make sure your skills are current, versatile and relevant. PRM’s paralegal conference is an education event specifically designed to provide paralegals with real tools, resources and education specifically designed for the paralegal profession.
Join us as nationally recognized speaker, Martha Lanier, opens our event with an entertaining and energizing keynote address The Power of Choice: Turning Change into Opportunity. Martha Lanier is a recognized speaker known for her distinctive presentation style that is both entertaining and informative.
For the advanced level litigation paralegals, Erika Santiago, recognized litigation technology educator and e-discovery consultant, will present a class to litigation paralegals designed to help them develop industry recognized project management methodologies for best practices of documenting e-discovery processes. This session will provide tools and skills to even the most experienced litigation paralegals and a rare opportunity to learn e-discovery project management skills from an expert in the field of litigation support.
One of the break out sessions for transaction and finance paralegals will be presented by Bill Carberry, certified Adobe trainer, providing paralegals with Adobe tools to create Closing Binder PDF Portfolios, collaboration features of Acrobat.com, improved export from PDF to Microsoft Office files and what you need to know about compliance with emerging PDF/A standards.
For more detailed program information and other session summaries click here
Leave a comment with your questions and I’ll answer them at the conference.
If you’re looking for individual or group e-discovery project management training, let’s discuss your learning objectives. Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org