How Can Hedge Fund General Counsel Use Project Management to Manage the Cost and Evaluate the Performance of Outside Counsel?

One result of the current economic downturn is a heightened, and probably enduring, price sensitivity among hedge fund general counsel and fund CFOs.  The response from the legal profession has been confined mostly to discussions of “alternative fee arrangements.”  However, discussions regarding the cost of legal services need to go deeper, penetrating how in-house and outside counsel do our work.  The legal profession must address cost, staffing, timing and deliverables; and addressing these issues will yield insight into value.  Fortunately, there is a well-developed tool for addressing these issues – an alternative, if you will, to alternative fee arrangements.  That tool is project management.  Project management has been used effectively across a wide range of businesses for a considerable time, but only recently has made inroads into the legal business.  In the area of hedge fund law specifically, project management has rarely been mentioned.  However, if properly implemented, project management offers hedge fund general counsel the opportunity to save money, comparison shop, budget, plan, manage and evaluate performance with respect to outside counsel.  Accordingly, in a guest article, Jonathan Baum – Principal of Avenir Law, with more than 30 years of experience as a hedge fund, securities, corporate and finance lawyer – offers a detailed discussion of project management generally, and how project management may be applied specifically in the context of engagements by hedge fund general counsel of outside counsel.

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