Last November I suggested that in law firms, it was not obvious who should be responsible for practice and process improvement. A new answer may be emerging.
Hildebrandt consultant Susan Raridon Lambreth wrote an excellent article, How Do Practice Leaders Get Their Jobs Done and Still Have a Practice? The Emerging Role of Practice Management Professionals, in the current issue of Law Practice Today. She describes the growing use of professional managers who assist department chairs, practice group leaders, industry and client team leaders [which] has now become commonplace in many large firms.
These practice management professionals help run the business and serve as liaisons to marketing, finance, technology, and other firm staff functions. She writes that their function can include business planning, market analysis, supervising non-lawyers, and workload management.
In November, I suggested that CIOs were, somewhat by default, stepping into a void – that there were not other obvious proponents of practice and process improvement. Lambreths article describes a whole new class of BigLaw stake holders who could fill this role.
At minimum, CIOs and KM professionals should actively build bridges to practice management professionals. I suspect that the successful ones could be key allies – or serious roadblocks – to any initiative, from basic infrastructure upgrades to more strategic technology and KM decisions.
[Strategic Legal Technology]