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Applying Agile Practices - Agile Legal

In his article, Lean Legal: Three Techniques for the Agile Lawyer, John Grant states that a growing number of attorneys and Legal teams are using Agile methods (Scrum, Kanban, etc.) to manage litigation projects and support transactional practices in immigration, business formation, and family law.

While many lawyers struggle with the idea of incorporating traditional project management within legal matters due to the amount of up-front planning, Agile practices make Legal project management easier by breaking the project down and enabling rapid delivery of value to the customer. John Grant; a lawyer, Agile Legal consultant, and creator of The Agile Attorney Network; has identified three techniques attorneys can implement to become more Agile:

Technique Agile Legal Example
Make Your Work (and Your Workflow) Visible Create a “working board” (i.e., task wall or kanban board) to ensure visibility (To Do; Doing; Done). Additional columns can be added to represent key workflow phases/dependencies (Prospects, Waiting on Client, Waiting on Third Party, To Do, Doing, Delegated, Holding Pattern, Filed, Done).
Trade in Tasks for Stories Write a “User Story” to describe the problem that needs to be solved: “As a ____, I need to be able to ____, so that I can ____.” In short, it is a snapshot of the customer need and explains the reason behind that need. Example: “As a person whose marriage is failing, I need to be able to dissolve my legal ties to my spouse, so that I can get on with my life.”
Be Retrospective The Retrospective is about the process for doing the work. It typically follows a three question format: What went well that we should keep doing? What didn’t go well that we should stop doing? What should we try that is different? By conducting a periodic retrospective, you and your team can capitalize on your strengths and reduce your shortcomings.

Source: The Agile Attorney & Sound Immigration

Using an Agile Legal approach makes work visible, encourages collaboration, enables responsiveness, supports consistency of communication, and can even create a competitive advantage with clients that “speak Agile.”

Good Reads

These are good references for understanding Agile practices used in Legal: / Office of the CTO

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