Herbert Smith Freehills has appointed a legal project management (LPM) lead for Europe and the Middle East, with Mark Collins joining the firm to help drive the adoption of LPM on the Continent.
The firm, which in October 2015 gained headlines by hiring a four-strong LPM team from Berwin Leighton Paisner led by Cathy Mattis, is a recognised leader in the area and now has 21 LPM specialists across the globe.
Collins, who was previously director of knowledge and innovation at Penningtons Manches followed by a brief four-month stint as head of innovation at BPP Law School. He will be based in London but his remit will be Continental Europe, the Middle East and Johannesburg, where HSF opened an office, also in October 2015.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Collins said: “I’ll be focussing on areas where LPM already has some traction but where we could do more. The focus to date has been London, Asia and Australia, establishing something quite special, but the bit in the middle (continental Europe and the Middle East) will benefit from more attention.
“I’ll be going into each of the EMEA offices and giving more availability for training on LPM methodology, data analytics, technology. It’s about giving people the ability to manage and communicate with their clients more transparently and effectively.”
In terms of the change of role he said: “This is my first ‘LPM’ title but for me KM has become LPM’s twin; using process redesign and technology to improve profitability by changing the way we deliver legal services; LPM and KM are just labels. It’s just great to be part of such an expert team.”
Since Mattis’ hire the LPM team has expanded and in Continental Europe the plan is to build the team further. HSF’s LPM team is split between the UK, US and EMEA on one hand and Australia and Asia on the other, with centres of excellence in London and Australia and LPM experts embedded into various practice areas.
We spoke in July to HSF’s CEO Mark Rigotti about the impact that alternative legal services have had on the firm’s revenue and he had some interesting observations about LPM that lend themselves to further growth of the team. “There’s also a lot of cultural stuff around this, such as whether partners allow alternative legal services to reach their full value or are stunting their growth.
There’s an element of not wanting to cannibalise our own revenue. For example, legal project management definitely has improved acceptance and the repeat users in some parts of the litigation team wouldn’t do anything without it. But others see it as witchcraft that will hopefully go away. The acceptance is mixed and I can understand that: “it’s easier to accept something if I’ve seen it rather than just heard about it” – and acceptance goes up after people have used it,” Rigotti said.
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