Parties’ love/hate relationship with arbitration is well documented. Studies consistently show that while arbitration’s flexibility and finality are valued, issues with high costs and a lack of productivity persist. This article will review a practical strategy for encouraging efficiency and economy in arbitration through the use of project management and lean methodology – systems that were largely created to achieve these goals.

The Association for Project Management defines a ‘project’ as a “Unique, transient endeavour, undertaken to achieve planned objectives”. ‘Project management’ is further described as the “Application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objectives”. The benefits of project management include effective use of resources, management of risks and adapting to change in order to achieve strategic goals and benefits.

The use of project management tools is often associated with construction, information technology (IT) or manufacturing activities where it is utilised to study and improve workflow. In recent years, legal project management also developed in law firms and in-house legal departments to help manage contracts, mergers and acquisitions (M&As) integration and litigation. While similar to traditional case management, the Association for Corporate Counsel notes that project management has become particularly important in-house because “[Business] clients now expect more than substantive legal knowledge; they require in-house counsel to have business acumen and to provide legal services in an efficient, predictable, and consistent manner”. Project management accomplishes this through more effective planning, cost control, resource allocation and risk management.

Jan-Mar 2019 issue

Gleason Alvarez ADR, LLC