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Legal17 September, 2019

Legal project management challenges: What to look for vs. what you don’t expect

The modern legal department is under constant pressure to do more with less. The legal function is expected to be a true business partner, helping the business achieve their goals, creating value and keeping a keen eye on costs. To meet these expectations, legal department leaders are turning to technology solutions to help them drive efficiency, generate insights and control costs. These factors are also drivers of legal project management, which aims to improve legal service delivery.

This post explores factors that should be taken into consideration vs. critical factors they are likely to overlook during the selection process.

What to look for:


When selecting the right technology, conduct an analysis of persistent challenges which have a negative impact on day-to-day operations. By tackling these first you can then build on the initial success during later stages of the project. Keep in mind that any tool you implement will have an impact on your team’s performance. In fact, performance may even dip temporarily while all the users grow accustomed to using the new solution.


While many vendors will tell you during their pitch that the software will increase your productivity, the real question is how. If you’re implementing for the first time, it’s best to focus on improving productivity in a few core areas instead of expecting a complete overhaul. For example, corporate housekeeping and contract management are good places to start because many processes require a lot of documentation and a series of routine tasks.

Key indicators:

One of the many great features of legal department software is that you can measure, track and report on data and performance metrics. Determining what you want to measure should be made in agreement with colleagues and other departments.

Accessible information:

One reason why corporate legal departments decide to embark on a digital transformation is because they’re tired of spending their valuable time searching for information. If you’ve ever had to locate a contract in a hurry, you know the feeling. Legal software should make access to information easier and faster.

What you don’t expect:

Identifying needs:

While the corporate legal department is the primary user of the software, keep the needs of the wider company in mind. As the role of the legal department continues to change, it acts as a service department to the rest of the business. Identifying your internal stakeholders and how the software will affect your collaboration with other departments is an important element.

Internal workshop and training:

Keep your internal stakeholders informed of the progress and show them how to use the tool once it’s finished. Skipping this step increases the likelihood that your colleagues won’t use the software and continue working the way they’re used to. An essential part of communication is a training program, which is integral to adoption.

Project management:

Along with drafting the requirements, you need a project plan and an owner. It’s best to map out the steps (together with the vendor) so you know what should happen and when. For more complex projects, you’ll need to set up a committee.

Change management:

Change is hard, especially in an industry that is slow to adapt. Communication is key to getting everyone on board. It’s your job to get everybody excited about the new software, which helps facilitate adoption.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by project management when there are so many things to consider, and there is work to be done. That’s why it’s essential to have a plan.

Watch our on-demand webinar “The modern legal department, where to start with digitalisation” and learn what factors you should keep in mind when selecting the right solution for your corporate legal department. “Watch here today!”

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