Legal Project Management

October 20, 2010 Hull & Hull LLP General Interest Tags: , , , , 0 Comments


I recently attended a conference on Legal Project Management (LPM). The ideas were all good ones and certainly the concept of Project Management has been a documented success in the business world for many years. 

The difficulty with LPM is not in the planning but in the execution. One impediment to effective implementation is, of course, that lawyers must play an integral role.

Lawyers have been found to have certain personality traits in higher proportions than the general population. One of these traits is scepticism. So no one should be surprised if a new project, especially one meant to manage processes traditionally controlled by lawyers, is met with a little scepticism. 

To take a step beyond scepticism, I have read that pessimism is an overwhelming predictor of success in lawyers. In her article “The Unique Psychological World of Lawyers”, Ronda Muir discusses research findings by Dr. Martin Seligman, a University professor and the founder of the school of Positive Psychology.     

Dr. Seligman studied whether there was any correlation of certain personality attributes, and particularly optimism, with success in the 104 careers he studied. In a certain twist of irony, the only career he found consistent findings for was law, where pessimism was so highly correlated with success in lawyers that the higher the pessimism in law students, the higher their grades. 

At this point I’d like to step in to defend. As lawyers, we are taught to examine, scrutinize and question everything we are told, see and hear. We are trained and socialized to see the train wreck coming and to put procedures into place to prevent it. That is what we do and what clients pay us for. Some may call it pessimism, I call it risk management. 

The good news is that lawyers also respond really well to indisputable evidence that something works. Now that is something to be optimistic about. 

Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.

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