Baker Donelson Wins Industry Award

By Andy Meek

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has picked up a prominent industry award for the development of its patent pending legal project management system, BakerManage.

The International Legal Technology Association has given the Memphis-based law firm a 2012 Distinguished Peer Award for outstanding achievements in the category of “Project of the Year.” Baker Donelson also got the award for being one of the first firms in the U.S. to create and implement a legal project management office.

In addition, Baker Donelson has shared its innovation through multiple speaking engagements in 2011, including presentations for the ILTA, the American Bar Association and the Project Management Institute.

“Baker Donelson developed BakerManage and implemented our legal project management office as part of our commitment to be good stewards of our clients’ resources, regardless of the fee arrangement,” said David Rueff, the firm’s legal project management officer. “The selection of Baker Donelson for this award is an acknowledgment of the firm’s innovation by combining project management and technology to help attorneys be more efficient and to make the practice of law more transparent to clients throughout the life cycle of a legal engagement.”

BakerManage represents an attempt to control certain aspects about practicing law that result in cost spikes. On the client side, for example, OK’ing work before clearly laying out expectations can contribute to the problem BakerManage seeks to bring under control, as well as lack of planning and communication on the law firm side.

The system provides a project management workflow for attorneys and clients. According to the firm, BakerManage compliments the legal experience of attorneys by assembling project information like scope, tasks, schedules, deadlines, budgets and performance in one location and sharing that information in real time with the team and the client.

The ILTA’s “Project of the Year” award recognizes an organization for an outstanding achievement in implementing a project that provides “exceptional business value and uses technology in an innovative way.” The award also recognizes organizations for helping educate the legal community on innovation.

This was the third year of ILTA’s Distinguished Peer Awards program. Recipients were presented their awards during a ceremony on Aug. 30 in conjunction with ILTA’s annual educational conference held in Washington.

Baker Donelson has more than 630 attorneys and public policy advisers representing more than 30 practice areas. It’s ranked as the 72nd largest law firm in the U.S.