An earlier version of this article was published and distributed worldwide via the Internet by Mondaq® and by email from on December 6 and 7, 2006, respectively. It is copyright to Douglas C. Allen P.A.© 2006-2007, All Rights Reserved.
Published here May 2007.

Introduction | Scope of Work | Statement of Work, Resources and Control
Risk, Communications and Closure | Budget | Schedule | Communications | Summary

Doug Allen provides dispute management and resolution services to the legal and business communities in commercial matters and disputes involving science and technology and other cases containing complex technical information. His background includes degrees in science and engineering, and over twenty years of consulting and project management experience. He has a thorough knowledge of, and practical experience with, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes including negotiation, mediation and arbitration, as well as all phases of civil litigation. Mr. Allen has served both government and private sector clients. He may be reached at: or via his web site at:


Managing a legal matter, whether it's a transaction or a dispute, can be equally as important as executing the actual legal work. Attention to both management and execution will help to ensure that client needs and expectations are met in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. However, recent surveys indicate corporate/in-house counsel are dissatisfied with their outside counsel. Some of the reasons underlying their dissatisfaction (e.g., high fees/costs, lack of responsiveness, and poor communications) suggest that management of legal matters is either done ineffectively or worse; it is not done at all.[1] These business world clients are addressing their dissatisfaction by, among other things, requiring detailed task-based scopes of work, budgets, and schedules, and more frequent and effective communications from their legal service providers.

Managing a legal matter is fundamentally no different from managing a construction project or a pharmaceutical research and development program. The focus of management activities are directed to planning, executing, controlling, monitoring and closing a required scope of work within a specified time period and within a given budget.

Project management of legal matters is concerned with monitoring the work, rather than executing the work. Effective and efficient management of legal matters involves business skills and tools that are different from the legal skills and tools used by the legal professionals who perform the work. This article discusses some practical considerations, and techniques and tools for developing and managing the scope of work, schedule, budget and communications for legal matters.


1. The surveys referred to by the author include:
   a. How Clients Hire, Fire and Spend: Landing the World's Best Clients. The BTI Consulting Group. March 2006.
   b. The Survey of Client Service Performance for Law Firms. The BTI Consulting Group. 2006.
   c. 17th Annual Survey of General Counsel. InsideCounsel. July 2006
   d. Altman Weil Law Department Metrics Benchmarking Survey. Altman Weil/LexisNexis. September 2006
   e. Third Annual Litigation Trends Survey Findings. Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP. October 2006
   f. Sixth Annual Managing Outside Counsel Survey. Association of Corporate Counsel/Serengeti. October 2006
   g. Fifth Annual Managing Outside Counsel Survey. Association of Corporate Counsel/Serengeti. October 2005
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