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Systems for Controlling Costs in Litigation. LAWSUITS AS MANAGEABLE PROJECTS. John M. Johnson Lightfoot, Franklin & White Birmingham, Alabama. Litigation Management in a New York Minute A One-Day NETWORK OF TRIAL LAW FIRMS SuperCourse August 8, 2003. WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT BUDGETS?.

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lawsuits as manageable projects

Systems for Controlling Costs in Litigation

LAWSUITS AS MANAGEABLE PROJECTS

John M. JohnsonLightfoot, Franklin & White

Birmingham, Alabama

Litigation Management in a New York MinuteA One-Day NETWORK OF TRIAL LAW FIRMS SuperCourseAugust 8, 2003

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WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT BUDGETS?

“Clients expect lawyers to manage the legal work, not simply perform it. They expect lawyers to become project managers. . . . Business executives now subject legal costs budgets to the same scrutiny as they do other parts of the business concern.”

Committee on Corporate Counsel Newsletter, Vol. 17 No. 2, Page 11 & 12`

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slide3

WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT BUDGETS?

  • There are no legal budgeting systems on the market that work adequately.
  • Will be presenting two systems today that will work:
    • System based on Microsoft Excel
    • System based on Microsoft Project
  • Both are based on ABA’s Task Based Billing Code.
  • We have templates for both that we can provide.

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slide8

BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT EXCEL

  • Advantages
    • Most lawyers and clients have software and are familiar with it.
    • Relatively easy to use.
  • Disadvantages
    • Only allows tracking of fees and expenses.
    • Less flexible.
    • Harder to adjust budget when things change.

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT EXCEL

  • Forms
    • Will be posting forms and instructions on our website www.lightfootlaw.com.
    • Can request forms now by sending an e-mail to jjohnson@lightfootlaw.com.

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

  • Why?
    • Because it lets you see everything that is planned in the case.
    • And everything that happens in the case.
    • Provides much greater flexibility.
    • Provides a realistic framework for incentives and alternate fee arrangements.

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

  • What is Microsoft Project?
    • It is a project planning software designed to be used on construction projects, product development projects, engineering projects and others.
    • It does not have a legal template, but we have developed one which we will also share.
  • Clients like it because it works by treating lawyers like pieces of equipment.

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

  • Define the tasks – task type must be “fixed work”
  • Define resources and assign to tasks
  • Define task work hours
  • Define task start due date
  • Define task duration
  • Finish date will be calculated
  • Cost Fields
    • Total costs = Costs
    • Expenses = Fixed costs / Custom cost field
    • Fees = Custom cost field

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

Defining tasks using ABA codes

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

Defining tasks using ABA codes

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

Define Start Date and Duration

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

Define Start Date and Duration

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

Identify Costs

  • Experts
  • Data Bases
  • Travel
  • Transcripts

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

Reports

  • Entire Case Budget
  • Breakdown by year, quarter, month or week
  • Actual Cost Tracking
  • Total Case History at anytime

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OTHER ADVANTAGES

Lets you see all work that is planned.

Lets you see who is scheduled to perform work.

Lets you track critical path work.

Allows easy adjustment.

It requires the legal team to plan their strategy and work early, and that, by itself, saves money.

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BUDGETING USING MICROSOFT PROJECT

Most companies with engineering departments have software.

For those that don’t it is readily available.

Instruction sheet on how to enter data is included in handout.

Templates and forms are available by emailing jjohnson@lightfootlaw.com.

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