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Legal Project Management: Thoughts, tips, and discoveries related to the management of legal projects.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Offers Project Management Course

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Legal education has been getting a bad rap recently for failing to properly prepare students in today's environment where clients are less willing to foot the bill for training lawyers how to practice law. In addition to practical legal skills, there have been calls to better prepare law students with business skills, including project-management skills.[1]

Therefore, I was happy to come across a proposal for a Project Management for Lawyers course to be taught for the first time at Indiana University this fall by Professors William Henderson and Carole Silver at the University of Indiana Maurer School of Law.[2] The course will focus "on teamwork and project management competencies [and] taught experientially with an actual project, client, and budget." The client for the first course this fall is Terralex, a legal network, which will supply the class with a 1,000 USD budget to cover the costs associated with the project. The project itself is international in scope:

The project will be the creation of core chapters of a book/online  resource  that  provides  practicing  lawyers  with  an  overview  of  the  legal systems  and  legal  professions  in  foreign  countries.  Depending  upon  student  interest and  the  project  scope  defined  by  the  class,  countries  likely  to  be  included  are  Brazil, Russia,  India,  China,  and  South  African  ("BRICS"  countries).  Ideally,  there  will  be sufficient time and resources to expand the scope of the project to include additional foreign jurisdictions. 

The course will be divided into four parts:

  1. three classes dedicated to team theory and an assessment of preferred team roles;

  2. six classes introducing project management concepts;

  3. nine weeks/27 classes for planning, scheduling, executing, and controlling of the Terralex project;

  4. closing out the projects, including lessons learned and creating organization process assets, which in this course/project will be research protocols for future students of the course.
Students will be graded on:

  1.  short quizzes or essays testing their knowlege of formal principles of project management;

  2. internal memoranda documenting aspects of the project;

  3. actual book chapters created by students;

  4. peer performance evaluations;

  5. their project log created through their use of time/billing software used in actual law firms; and 

  6. a self-evaluation essay.
It sounds like an interesting course. I wish something like this would have offered when I was a law student.
 
 

[1] See e.g., Irene Plagianos, The Future of Legal Education: Get Real, The American Lawyer, Apr. 13, 2010, http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202447958758 (last visited May 14, 2010); Karen Sloan, Consensus: Law schools aren't changing fast enough, National Law Journal, Apr. 9, 2010, http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202447864826&Consensus_Law_schools_arent_changing_fast_enough&hbxlogin=1 (last visited May 14, 2010).

[2] Bill Henderson, Course Proposal: Project Management for Lawyers, available at http://weblaw.usc.edu/assets/docs/contribute/BBlpacket3legalprojectmanagement.pdf (last visited May 14, 2010).

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This page contains a single entry by Paul C. Easton published on May 14, 2010 1:13 AM.

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