Pinsent Masons has launched a client and legal project management division to help support delivery of matters on time and on budget.
“Front of house”
The division is led by UK-based Dee Tamlin and comprises over twenty project managers and staff. Pinsent Masons is continuing to recruit in the UK, Asia Pacific and the Middle East while already offering the service on a global basis. So far the firm has won project management mandates in the UK, mainland Europe and South Africa. The firm says that while a number of law firms offer project management delivered by lawyers or dedicated professionals on major transactions, Pinsent Masons’ CLPM division will do that in addition to embedding professionally certified project managers directly in the client team on major projects, litigations and transactions, irrespective of whether Pinsent Masons is delivering legal advice on the matter. Ms Tamlin says, “Pinsent Masons has always trained its people and offered tools that help us to come in on-time and on-budget. Over the years we have developed and honed a methodology that marries project management principles and best practice with the innate uncertainties of complex legal work. Clients have responded to that and increasingly ask us to deliver training and input on project management at the outset of matters that they themselves then administer. Some are now asking us to place professional project managers into teams to coordinate mandates that may involve multiple firms, geographies, jurisdictions and workstreams irrespective of whether we are delivering all or some of the legal work. This is very-much about responding to that existing demand for project management as a more 'front of house' discipline.”
Alastair Morrison, head of client strategy and board member at Pinsent Masons, says “Pinsent Masons has been transitioning from being an expertise-based law firm to a professional services firm with law at its core. Project management is a great example of a skillset which is adjacent to legal services in the excellent delivery of projects and transactions. This investment is absolutely on-strategy and the level of take-up from clients already demonstrates the level of demand as progressive organisations seek to better-support and leverage their in-house legal and commercial resources.” Research conducted by Pinsent Masons has found that all but one of the UK's top 10 law firms - and 18 percent of the top 100 UK law firms overall - currently employ project management professionals. While most are understood to be involved in the delivery of internal projects as the legal sector increasingly adopts new technologies and delivery models, many are also deployed on client matters though often 'in the background' and often invisible to external clients. Ms Tamlin says, “We're certainly seeing that in the upper echelons of the market, where firms have the scale and breadth to invest, professional project management is being taken very seriously.”