Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Essential Project Management Skills for Small Firms

In professional football, 53 players can make the team.

Because only 11 can play on the field at a time, they typically divide up into offense, defense, and special teams. Each of these teams has a specific purpose under the guidance of an assistant coach.

Project managers are like assistant coaches. Their job is to make sure everybody executes projects effectively and inefficiently.

End Zone Results

The football analogy only goes so far, but law firms are still a work in progress when it comes to project management. The biggest adjustment is working on a budget, and that is the essence of project work.

Lawyers have to learn how to be profitable based on the end results, not the billable hour. Like offensive teams in football, they can't just run around the field for hours. They have to score.

"Project managers ensure that what is promised is delivered -- on time, on budget, with transparency, and with predictability and accountability," says Mark Cohen for LegalMosaic.

If the law firm delivers, the client is happy. It's a win-win.

Xs and Os

Coaches rank their quarterbacks by completions, not attempts. The same goes for field goal kickers. It's about numbers.

Project managers have to manage individuals, too. Sometimes, they have to spell out who does what and when and where to go.

"Project managers ensure the trains run on time and according to the proscribed route," Cohen says.

That way, the firm makes money. The big contracts are not just for players.

Have an open position at your law firm? Post the job for free on Indeed, or search local candidate resumes.

Related Resources:

FindLaw has an affiliate relationship with Indeed, earning a small amount of money each time someone uses Indeed's services via FindLaw. FindLaw receives no compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.