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Small In-House Counsel Project Managment Solution

We have a small legal department for a mid sized company. Our legal depart is 9 people - 6 lawyers (including the GC) and 3 project staff (not secretaries) and are looking for a new solution for the General Counsel and team to help keep track of projects and deadlines on a mirco level and also allow us to all know what's going on with each other on a macro level. We want to know what projects are in progress for the different departments of the company and have something that could display that onscreen at our team meeting that happens every 2 weeks.

We used trello for a few years and it just became a pain. It was the only thing we used trello for so we would not update it, except 20 minutes prior to the meeting, and really did not use it for any actual functionality.

Some people use outlook tasks for their own task management, but we would like to have a new solution that is really useful for both short and long term projects, hopefully replacing the use of outlook or at least easily supplementing it.

I am thinking about trying to create something more useful in Smartsheet (individual sheet for each person that then cell links the more general parts to the team sheet), but wanted to see if there was a better solution already available. I would like something that has some strong project and task management features on an individual level that then feeds into or has a general view of the entire team.

The legal dept is not the focus of the company, so IT will not dedicate a lot of time to build something out for us. They had something created using sharepoint and servicenow, but can't really tailor it for us.

I've looked through a dozen or so services I saw through searching here and Google and did not find any that really meet what I want. Part of the issue may be the lack of actual screen views and video demo's without signing up for a live product demo, but I don't want to spend the next week going through hours of product demo's and then weeks of telling different salespeople that I am not interested. I'm hoping someone here can point me in the right direction to weed it down to 2 or 3 products at most.

We want to have something that allows the 9 of us to each easily add and actually manage individual projects, deadlines, etc. and also have the ability to get a larger view of what everyone is working on. We don't bill, we don't have a large amount of litigation (only 1 person handles that and we have 3-4 cases at one time and use outside counsel for that). We don't have a large need to manage the outside counsel due to the limited amount of litigation.

Primarily we have state financial audits and related deadlines, contracts, and other legal projects for various departments (marketing, IT/Data security, business operations, HR, licensing, etc.) in the company which would all have deadlines.

Thanks in advance for any direction you can provide!


  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    We used trello for a few years and it just became a pain. It was the only thing we used trello for so we would not update it, except 20 minutes prior to the meeting, and really did not use it for any actual functionality.

    This sounds less like a problem with Trello and more like a problem with buy-in. It may be that Trello wasn't the right tool for the job, but why do you think you are more likely to use something else for that job?

    What you're going to find is that there are a dozen tools that work fine, and you may even really like one or two of them. But unless you have buy-in from the whole team, and unless everyone actually uses the tool, nothing new is going to meet your needs any better than Trello didn't.

  • dfmodfmo Columbia, MO

    Is there anything with better Outlook integration? We have the corporate version not 365. I would like to be able to move an email into a project seamlessly to help with the buy-in. They way we were using trello it was just a chalkboard. We use Smartsheet for other tasks and the card view is similar in function to trello so maybe that will be enough.

    I guess I am really looking for something we will want to have open all the time and doesn't seem like "work" to use. Maybe it is all about selling it better to the team.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    I'm all about finding the best tool for the job but team buy-in has to come first.

    There isn't anything with great Outlook integration, although many things promise it. Usually getting emails into practice/project management software means forwarding the emails to a custom email address for the project, which is a bit clunky.

    But I agree that it should be something you live in. However, that seems more like it needs to involve a change in habits than merely a change in software. You could do that by adopting a new tool (maybe Trello is tainted so Smartsheet would be better), but you'll need to do some training, as well. Or you can extend the use of what you are using now. If you are using Outlook on an Exchange server or Office 365, you can share task lists and give access to email folders, which might be ways to get more out of Outlook.

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