Project Manager - Legal

Reed Smith   •  

Pittsburgh, PA

Industry: Legal Services


5 - 7 years

Posted 371 days ago

Job ID: 504790

Firm Information

Reed Smith is a global relationship law firm with more than 1,700 lawyers in 27 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses, from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its lawyers provide litigation and other dispute resolution services in multi-jurisdictional and other high-stakes matters; deliver regulatory counsel; and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising, entertainment and media, shipping and transport, energy and natural resources, real estate, manufacturing, technology, and education. For more information, visit

Position Summary

This position will enable the firm to provide exemplary client service through application of advanced process and project management, matter management and client management. The project manager is expected to understand the firm’s business goals and manage legal matters to achieve firm profitability and client satisfaction. This includes utilizing project and process management methodologies and tools, analyzing financial data, creating Excel-based financial reports and building client communication tools (such as dashboards). The successful candidate will have a keen understanding of project management and process improvement and the proper rigor to apply to a given legal matter to ensure best results. The candidate must be able to demonstrate significant intuitive flexibility in the choice and application of various finance, project and legal process management disciplines and tools (depending on the type of engagement), and the real and acknowledged needs for matter management of the legal team. The candidate must be able to take a long-term view with regard to the successful adoption and acceptance of legal project management and the firm as a whole. The candidate must be comfortable working with--and leading--teams of partners, associates and other legal personnel. Additionally, the candidate must be adept at navigating complex, high-pressure environments. The candidate will also interact directly with clients, maintaining and fostering positive relations while working on administrative and legal matters.

Essential Functions

  • Define and confirm scope of legal matters, draft project charter, timeline, roles and responsibilities, budget, resources, deliverables, risks, communication plan and other essential project management tools and methodologies.
  • Examine and explore opportunities for process improvement across the management of legal matters
  • Analyze data from Reed Smith financial systems and create Excel-based financial reports
  • Develop a keen understanding of law firm profitability metrics and key performance indicators--and how they interrelate--and demonstrate the ability to discuss those metrics with firm attorneys and clients
  • Compare matter progress to budget and convey status to firm attorneys and clients
  • Assist with the development of large-scale budget and matter work  plans and configure our current matter management system to underpin the execution of the plans
  • Estimate the resources and participants (staffing) needed to achieve project goals and provide input in the budget-creation and matter work plan-creation process
  • Consult on the use of pricing methods and alternative fee and value-based billing arrangements as needed
  • Consult on the use of alternative staffing approaches and technology/automation where appropriate
  • Define project success criteria and disseminate data to involved parties throughout project lifecycle
  • Effectively communicate project expectations and status to firm attorneys and clients in a timely and clear fashion
  • Proactively manage changes in project scope, identify potential risks and devise contingency plans as appropriate
  • Manage multiple projects concurrently, juggling priorities, deadlines and essential project management duties for each respective project
  • Create and complete internal and external “after action reports” to facilitate the continuous improvement of the execution of our legal project management program and legal work at large
  • Partner with the Firm’s Knowledge Management, Pricing, Client Intelligence, Technology and Business Development  groups to execute strategy and achieve program success
  • Conduct training on project management, process improvement, profitability and value services both at the firm and client level
  • Strategize with Client Value team regarding firm initiatives to drive process improvement, efficiency and profitability
  • Negotiate rate and fee agreements with clients and prepare partners for similar discussions


Education:   Required:   Undergraduate or MBA degree in finance or a related business field, or equivalent work experience. Six Sigma/Lean training certification and Project Management Project qualification strongly preferred. Legal education a plus.

Experience:  Minimum five years of project management work experience in professional services, finance or legal industry.  Willingness to obtain project management or legal project management certification.


Computer proficient with advanced skills in project management software, Microsoft Excel, Visio, and Project are required.  Must be able to learn, understand and apply finance skills and new technologies.  Strong written and oral communication skills.  Excellent interpersonal skills.  Ability to quickly and effectively prioritize and execute tasks in a high-pressure team –based environment is crucial.  Ability to respond appropriately to shifting priorities, demands and timelines through analytical and problem-solving capabilities.  Ability to read communication styles of team members and clients who come from a broad spectrum of disciplines.  Adept at conducting research into project-related issues and products.  Willingness to work remotely with the Global Team and maintain seamless communication.


Experience at working both independently and in a team-oriented, collaborative environment is essential.  Ability to elicit cooperation from a wide variety of sources, including senior partners, clients and other constituents.  Capable of walking the line between controlling and stifling the execution of a legal engagement by pairing the appropriate level of rigor and management to a matter.  Ability to respond to project adjustments and alterations promptly and efficiently.  Ability to welcome change and embraces the challenges and opportunities therein.  Ability to bring projects to successful completion while navigating the related political and cultural environments   Ability to be persuasive, encouraging and motivating and to maintain a client-service focus and mindset.



Supervisory Responsibilities:  None.

Equipment To Be Used:  Personal computer and other office equipment such as telephone, calculator, fax, machine, copier, scanner, etc.

Typical Physical Demands: Manual dexterity sufficient to operate standard office equipment.

Typical Mental Demands: Able to deal with stress associated with fast-paced work environment.  Multiple priorities/tasks.  Make judgment decisions and adapt to changing work situations.  Grasp and apply new ideas.  Communicate with various personalities at all levels.

Working Conditions: Works in typical office setting.  Occasionally called upon to work hours in excess of your normal daily schedule.