Leading law firms demand for legal project managers tempered by suitable candidate shortage
The top law firms are driving the pick-up of Legal Project Management (LPM) as a way of cementing customer relationships. Legal recruitment consultancy, Origin Legal, has seen a rise in the number of city firms looking for Legal Project Managers since the roles breakthrough. Having already placed numerous positions within large firms, the number of new roles being created so far this year is already up 10% on last year. To understand what may have affected this sudden growth Sarah Lawrence met with the London Head of Legal Project Management for Baker McKenzie, Kevin O’Sullivan.
Kevin believes the key driver for the move has been client lead, saying: “Clients like the structure, transparency of process, and better, more frequent communication. It is clear that LPM, when done well, can add significant value both to the law firm itself, and most importantly to our clients. There is a recognition from an increasing number of top law firms of the changing nature of how they deliver legal services and the need to become more efficient.”
Additionally, the recruitment landscape is growing as the roles become more transparent with the biggest challenge in finding the right calibre of candidates. Unlike more traditional project management, legal project management can often be more fluid and less sequential, therefore flexibility is a fundamental requirement. There is no doubt that legal expertise and strong project management is a very powerful combination.“
Sarah Lawrence, Senior Consultant, Legal Project Management at Origin Legal said: “We are seeing the top law firms waking up to the realisation that legal project managers make commercial sense to their organisation. It helps them cut out the lack of communication with clients plus keeps lawyers sticking to the complex legal work and ensure matters are controlled more efficiently. More roles will no doubt come to market as the pick-up from smaller firms takes hold.”
To read the full interview with Kevin O'Sullivan at Baker McKenzie, download the PDF here