There are many ways to fail and sometimes few ways (or one) to succeed. Many lawyers tend to view the whole concept of legal project management with some suspicion and wariness. They view themselves as creative problem solvers and do not want their thought processes to be limited to following a flow chart. Besides, just how professional could following a flow chart be?

Every now I then I want to say PLEASE read this article everyone. Today is such a case. The anonymous curmudgeon Otto Sorts has posted an article on the AttorneyAtWork site titled Life Is Complex and Uncertain which contains an easy six point approach to project management. (Go ahead and read it now. I'll wait for you.) Great work, Otto. I have no idea why your editors called you "Strange" in the bio section.

But at the risk of incurring some curmudgeonly disapproval, let me suggest that this is only the first part of the roadmap for law firm success. I have mentioned before how I think lawyers would benefit from reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. Otto Sorts has outlined project management for a particular project. Atul Gawande encourages us to then take that work product and, at firm expense, build a template (aka checklist) to institutionalize this thinking process to benefit the firm and the next client for the next similar project. We should let the project plan/template/checklist evolve just the way our standard form documents are modified when the law changes or unexpected difficulties are encountered.