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Short reads for better practice management
Many of the most popular recent additions to the practicePRO Lending Library have been from the ABA’s “One Hour” series. These books present practice management and technology topics in a format that can be read in (more or less) an hour.
We’ve added three new titles to the Library.
Legal Project Management In One Hour for Lawyers is by Pamela Woldow, a partner at a global legal consulting firm, and Doug Richardson, a former large firm litigator who now writes and coaches on law firm leadership. Their goal in the book is to explain just what “legal project management” (LPM) is, why clients want it, and how firms can begin to apply basic LPM principles.
The authors describe LPM as being about two core things: performing legal work more efficiently and managing uncertainty. It is not the same as project management in other fields (e.g. manufacturing or technology), which aims to produce identical and predictable outcomes. Rather, it is a system to give clients more predictability and accountability within the scope of the tasks clients have retained a law firm to perform.
Why are clients increasingly demanding LPM for their work? Financial pressures. The budget for “legal spend” has been slashed in many companies, and so they are looking for firms who can offer the same services with greater efficiency, value and predictable timelines and costs. Firms that have shown the willingness to respond to this new environment are proving attractive to these clients.
The book provides a high level overview of the various stages of LPM: determining the client objectives, planning the project, executing the legal work, monitoring progress and doing post-project reviews. The processes are easy enough to explain; the challenge is implementing the ideas in the firm and getting buy-in from lawyers who have traditionally done things “their way.”
Throughout the book there are real-world anecdotes that demonstrate how firms have adopted LPM practices. The authors wrap up with a chapter on how to begin the process of implementing LPM in your firm.
Adobe Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers gives a detailed look at a program many in the legal profession use, but which isn’t often taken full advantage of in terms of features. Most assume it’s used mainly to display documents in a PDF format, but it’s capable of so much more. The author is Ernie Svenson, a commercial litigation lawyer who speaks on tech-related subjects and runs the PDFforlawyers.com website.
There are free programs that let you create and view PDFs, but this book focuses on the features that justify the costs of purchasing Adobe® Acrobat® X and XI Standard or Professional. The chapters are divided into Basic (viewing, navigating and creating PDFs) and Intermediate (creating bookmarks, commenting, redaction text recognition and more). A quick browse through the chapters will unlock features you may not have known were at your fingertips.
Finally, Android Apps in One Hour for Lawyers provides some great ideas for apps that can be used on any device that runs Android™, whether it’s a phone or tablet. The author is Daniel Siegel, a lawyer who writes and speaks on technology and consults with firms to improve their technology practices.
There are 600,000 apps in the Google Play store and this book distills that number down to the best to get more out of your device. While Android devices don’t have as many specific legal apps as Apple ones do, there are still a lot worth checking out.
After showing novice users where to find apps, and how to install and update them, the book breaks down the suggested apps into different types. There are those that store data in the cloud, productivity apps, document editing apps, apps designed forlaw offices and those that increase the power of your device through dictation, remote access and file management. Even if you just skim the chapters, you are bound to find something to make your device even more useful.
Tim Lemieux is practicePRO Coordinator at LAWPRO.