In a coming of age story for legal project management (LPM) Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has bolstered its global LPM capability with the hire a four-strong team from Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) including head of process improvement Cathy Mattis.

Mattis, who becomes HSF’s head of legal project management for the UK, US, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is joined by Lynn Mackay, Sarah Nathan and Priye Lele. Lele joins as head of project management in HSF’s corporate department, Nathan as legal project management assistant and Mackay as legal project analyst.

This summer HSF made the decision to embed legal project managers within client-facing teams globally across different practice areas, to work with them on pricing through to completion.

The 2,352-lawyer firm’s LPM model also comprises two centres of excellence, one of which is in London and will be headed by Mattis. The other is based in Melbourne, led by head of legal project management for Australia and Asia, Libby Jarvis.

Legal project managers were first trialled within HSF’s litigation department and global disputes head Justin D’Agostino said: “Clients want efficient project management of their legal matters. LPM allows us to provide clients with a more systematic and disciplined approach to legal work. Ultimately, a better product is delivered and legal spend is optimised.”

The new hires mean that in the past six months, the top 10 firm’s global LPM team has now more than doubled to 10, with five dedicated to delivering services within its UK, US and EMEA network and five in Australia and Asia. Plans for further expansion are underway.

HSF’s corporate services director Richard King said: “This strengthening of the firm’s global LPM offering demonstrates the firm’s long-term investment and commitment to providing clients with a leading-edge service, delivered seamlessly in all practice areas across the globe.”