Learn About E-Discovery Project Management

Lately, I’ve been writing most of my e-discovery project management posts on my other blog http://www.learnaboutediscovery.com … Here’s a quick round up of the most recent posts and I invite you to visit me over there some time!

 

  1. Being the Project Manager
  2. How important is COMMUNICATION to e-discovery projects?

  3. “New Job Title, Same Job? Becoming an E-Discovery Project Manager”
  4. Recently, I recorded a live training on e-discovery project management… the link on this post will soon convert to on-demand registration. Here’s a few extra notes from the webinar.
  5. I delivered a CLE last month on this topic. Here are a few notes from that lecture.
  6. Electronic Discovery Metrics: Why Metrics Matter

 

Check out my other blog: www.learnaboutediscovery.com or send me an e-mail erika at learnaboutediscovery.com

 

 

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21 Ways to Excel at Project Management | Project Smart

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.

 

 

 

How do you transition from Paralegal to Project Manager?

This is a question that in today’s legal market place, I’m getting asked a lot. I have my thoughts and recommendations but I’d love to hear from you too. What does it take to transition from being a senior litigation paralegal to an electronic discovery project manager?

There are lots of transferable skills including:

  • Communication (“legaleze”)
  • Understanding the scope and procedures of the discovery process
  • Agility in working on multiple projects at the same time with tight deadlines

What did I miss? I’m sure there are more.

What are the “new” skills that today’s paralegal needs to acquire in order to achieve success as an EDPM?

Here are a few of my key recommendations:

  • Technology – not just how to search and report from the discovery document database but rather an understanding of basic (to advanced) knowledge of IT infrastructure and systems (or simply, the difference between an e-mail server and a file server)
  • Communication – “legaleze” isn’t enough… status reports, budget vs actual spend, change management
  • Change management – how to manage the implications to the budget and the schedule if the scope changes in a way that holds project stakeholders accountable for those changes

Have you made this transition? What skills were you able to carry over from your days as a paralegal to your new career as an e-discovery project manager? Are you a recruiter? What skills do you recommend to your clients to look for in a qualified candidate? Are you a hiring manager? Does certification in e-discovery, litigation support and/or project management matter?

 

Succesful Role Definition in EDPM

One of the ways you can ensure success for any type of project (including an e-discovery project) is by making sure that you have the right people doing the tasks that they are best suited to do and do well. Today, I want to explore how to successfully define the project team roles for litigation / e-discovery projects. I will begin by saying that we can not rely or depend on the traditional roles: attorney, paralegal, litigation support specialist, project assistant, secretary, IT person (which could be application specialist, network engineer, help desk specialist) or trainer.

Traditional project management roles include: sponsor, team leader, SME (subject matter expert), project manager, stake holder… these don’t exactly work either.

It is going to be important to define who’s doing what and when before litigation strikes or at the very latest, very early in the case. The EDRM describes the project management team to include the corporate client, the law firm and the service provider (vendor). Within each organization someone is identified as the project manager. However, what happens next gets pretty fuzzy because then everyone wants to fall back on their traditional roles or job titles to define the project team roles.

So how can we take the standard list of project team roles and the traditional law firm/client/vendor relationship and redesign it to work better for e-discovery projects?

There is an increasing trend in the industry today that is looking for the attorney in charge to take on the role of project leader so as to enforce quality control and avoid sanctions. How does this trend help us to understand and define clear team roles?

Do you have to be a techie to manage a litigation support or e-discovery project? Some experts in the PM world would say no, but you do need to have an understanding of what the technology can do, should do and does best.

If you are the project leader? Can you successfully delegate tasks to others on the team? Communicating and discussing everyone’s strengths up front will enable successful task delegation and role identification.

Now that we’ve given this some thought, let’s create our project team checklist:

  • Determine the roles & responsibilities you will need to complete your e-discovery project successfully
  • Consider your team’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Create a “Roles & Responsibilities” Matrix (fill it in, share with whole team, everyone knows what’s expected of them)
  • Keep in mind that everyone on your team may not be employed by your organization (the client, outside counsel, service provider, consultant)

What do you think are the key roles that are necessary for every e-discovery project? Which are optional? Should the partner in charge be the project leader?