ACEDS DC Chapter and The Master’s Conference Deliver Thought Provoking Panel on Project Management

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Last week the ACEDS DC Chapter presented its second installment in a series of fall educational events. It was an expert panel discussion called “Legal Project Management in 2019” presented in conjunction with The Master’s Conference at Sidley Austin LLP. One thing that was immediately clear from the discussion is that legal teams still face many of the same challenges they’ve always faced when it comes to managing projects, but now with the added challenges of international privacy laws, an evolving domestic privacy landscape, complex cyber security concerns, new and emerging communications systems, and sophisticated corporate clients shaping how their projects are managed.

But what struck me the most was hearing every speaker echo that the most crucial elements to a successful legal project are still the same elements that have always been key to the success of any project—experience, teamwork and communication.

What struck me even more was when I realized that this presentation itself was the embodiment of the advice given to the audience. Admittedly, I didn’t recognize it as it was happening, but it hit me all at once when I sat down to write this blog post. Here’s what I mean:

A project is a planned undertaking designed to achieve a particular aim. In this case, the aim was for the ACEDS DC Chapter to provide relevant and useful information to the legal community in DC.

So how did they do it?

  1. By looking to the experience of the Chapter Board and collaborating on initial steps.
  2. By building a great team that began with partnering with The Master’s Conference. Together, ACEDS DC Chapter and The Master’s Conference offered a free session to the entire ACEDS membership, Master’s conference attendees and the Washington, DC legal community. From there, the ACEDS DC Chapter filled out the team with Josh Raynes, Associate at Kraftson Caudle; Sonya Judkins, Manager of Legal Discovery and Compliance at Sprint; Jason Lichter, Director of Discovery Services at Pepper Hamilton; Keith Woolley, Senior Program Manager at PAE; Kendall Smardzewski, Division Director at Beacon Hill Legal. Pretty impressive, right?
  3. By communicating early and often with everyone involved. There were ACEDS internal meetings, meetings between ACEDS and Master’s, meetings and communication with the team and panel as it developed, meetings and communication with the final panel group and, of course, the presentation itself—a communication of the framework that ultimately led to the creation and delivery of this very presentation.

See what I mean now? The presentation was an example of the results of the speakers’ advice. Here’s what I think they were saying, in a nutshell:

  • Identify your aim.
  • Find some experts.
  • Build a team.
  • Communicate… A lot.
  • Deliver a result.

Easy, right? Okay, not necessarily easy but this framework is a great foundation for a successful project. Thank you, Legal Project Management in 2019 team, for reminding me!

Dan Cohen
Director of Business Development at Sandline Discovery
Dan Cohen is Director of Business Development at Sandline Discovery where he leads sales, marketing and strategic partnership efforts in addition to consulting with clients on data collections, eDiscovery and investigations. Throughout his 20-year career in technology, Dan has managed teams, initiatives and projects to success as a law firm Litigation Support Manager, eDiscovery Project Manager, adviser, consultant, technician and dedicated customer advocate. A certified eDiscovery specialist (CEDS) with thirteen years of experience supporting corporations, agencies and law firms in eDiscovery and litigation support, Dan is focused on providing service and solutions to new challenges as they arise.

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