Dundas & Wilson

Dundas & Wilson

During 2012-2013, Cass Business School worked alongside law firm Dundas & Wilson to help deliver a Legal Project Management programme. Cass Business School's input comprised a one-day introductory workshop and two-day business change follow-up workshop with project work, and was delivered to around 40 Associates and Senior Associates. Two more cohorts are also planned for 2014.

The interactive Introductory Workshop was designed to enable employees to define aims and group goals for Legal Project Management within the firm. Based on well-researched and known ingredients of successful business change, participants related a particular change framework to their own business.

They first gained insight into external market and the business drivers for the LPM project. They assessed their own starting point in terms of the technical and leadership competencies involved in LPM, defined stakeholders in the LPM project and the levels of involvement that they needed from them. They drew up a personal vision that connected with the firm-wide vision and defined how they and colleagues could be operating differently as a result of the project. Finally, they defined specific actions steps that would help create a 'change ready' environment in their own sphere of influence.

The two-day business change workshop addressed how people and organisations react to change, and highlighted typical enablers and blockers of change. The workshop comprised small group exercises, and a computer-based simulation where participants applied seven known 'levers of change' to their own business change projects. They wrestled with the right combinations of such factors as senior leadership communication, use of informal networks, reward and recognition to discover how they might create an irreversible 'change contagion' in the firm for their own projects.

Jim Moser, Director - Learning & Development at Dundas & Wilson:

"The whole legal industry has been experiencing change and looking inwards at structure and processes, as have most industries, since the UK economic crisis of 2007 and project management skills within the legal industry have become increasingly important. The scope and application of these skills varies from organisation to organisation, depending on infrastructures, priorities and needs. Here at Dundas & Wilson, we recognised a requirement for a stronger focus upon efficiency and profitability. We are ultimately a group of businesses, so a multifaceted, holistic view on streamlining and optimising process is key to the future success of the organisation in driving increased profit and better decisions.

The programme was tailored and aimed at Associates and Senior Associates, those who are four to 10 years qualified, this would enable Dundas & Wilson to take a longer term view for the business and to start to influence institutional change over time.

It was clear that we'd need to look externally for such training expertise. Cass was selected not only because they are a prestige brand, but also because of their credentials within the legal industry and their expertise within project management.

The way in which Cass engaged with the Associates has to be commended. Attendance to the programme has remained high with a large enthusiasm and appetite, which, when people are time poor, is quite an achievement. Back at Dundas & Wilson, the learning has been reflected upon and put into practice once such example is the application of a tool for the paralegals that helps them work more efficiently. The LSU (Legal Services Unit) has been established at Dundas & Wilson to achieve better value legal work in the market within certain areas of law, but producing the same quality. One way around this was to free up the time of lawyers by empowering paralegals with more responsibility. This enables them to produce and populate legal documents through the use of a tool, therefore allowing the company to reduce bottom line costs. A corporate associate who'd attended the initial pilot of the programme was inspired by what he had learned and worked with LSU in producing the tool.

The LPM programmes run regularly and are now a firm part of the training structure for our organisation in both London and Scotland"