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Project Management for Lawyers 2019

Speaker(s): Aaron Kotok, Adrian R. Gardner, Anthony Widdop, Bree L. Johnson, Carla Landry, David Alkins, Erica Godwin, Jaimee B. Farrer, James Shoemaker, Janelle Eveland Belling, John E. Duggan, Mark Van Blargan, Megan V. Panchella, Natasha M. Edlow, Rebecca H. Benavides, Shea Twomey-Meuse, Susan Raridon Lambreth, Timothy O'Leary
Recorded on: Feb. 6, 2019
PLI Program #: 248798

Areas of Expertise
Agile Project Management; Legal Project Management; Lean Six Sigma; Process Improvement; Change Management;  Legal Technology Innovative Solutions; Legal Industry Operations


John Duggan is Director of Seyfarth Shaw’s Lean Solutions group.  In his role as Director, Mr. Duggan leads a team of Legal Project Managers whose job is to help Seyfarth Shaw legal teams improve their delivery of legal services and provide consistently delightful client experiences. Mr. Duggan works on a variety of firm-wide, interdepartmental and cross-functional projects, including legal process mapping, client/attorney case management improvement and other internal and external SeyfarthLean initiatives.  Mr. Duggan has managed several complex litigation matters, large-scale FLSA audits and declaration campaigns for firm clients.  In addition, he has led the onboarding of a large trademark portfolio and managed enterprise-wide projects, such as upgrading the firm’s external facing website,  telephone system upgrades for all offices and the selection and implementation of the firm’s Human Resource Information System. Mr. Duggan has over 20 years’ experience as a project manager, is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, certified Agile ScrumMaster and a certified Project Management Professional.  He is also an active member of the Chicagoland Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI).  Mr. Duggan has served as Chapter President (2000)  and recently completed a two-year term as Vice President of Education.  Mr. Duggan teaches project management courses for DeVry University and Keller Graduate School of Management.


  • Masters in Project Management, Keller Graduate School (2000)
  • B.S., Engineering & Computer Science, University of Illinois (1984)
  • A.S., Math and Science, College of DuPage (1982)



  • Six Sigma Black Belt (2016 - Dartmouth College)
  • Six Sigma Green Belt (2006 - Six Sigma Academy)
  • Project Management Professional, PMP (1996 - Project Management Institute)



  • Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Past President (2000) of the Chicagoland Chapter of PMI,
  • Three years  PMI Midwest Chapter Board of Directors as VP of Communications & Director at Large



  • Co-Author, “Lean and Agile: How Legal Project Management Can Transform Client Services” Managing Partner Magazine (April 2013)

Aaron Kotok is Managing Director at AdvanceLaw, a market solution for over 240 GCs (including Nike, PayPal, Honeywell, Apple, Mastercard, McDonald's, Panasonic, Airbus, and Clorox) who share feedback and retain the best lawyers at the most innovative firms in the world.  A trusted advisor to Fortune 500 GCs, legal operations professionals, and their teams, as well as to AmLaw 200 law firm leaders, CMOs, and partners, Aaron is responsible for engagement with key GC clients and firms, and the broader legal industry.  He leads the company’s signature data-based project examining relationships between clients and firms, the GC Thought Leaders Experiment.

Previously, Aaron led the CEB Leadership Council for Legal Executives (formerly known as the General Counsel Roundtable, now part of Gartner), a global advisory organization serving large company GCs and in-house teams.  He was responsible for strategy, business and people management, operations, and product development, and was a member of CEB's Advisory Leadership Group, helping shape firm-wide policy.

In prior CEB roles, he managed client service and research teams, and presented to hundreds of GCs on department challenges, including risk management, law firm management, as well as team structure and productivity. Aaron created and led a legal operations cohort to assist and advise companies in records management, law department technology, talent management, and law firm spend.

Aaron is a frequent contributor to legal industry publications, and a sought-after speaker at industry events and conferences. Over the course of his career, Aaron has presented at many in-house legal teams’ strategy sessions and law firm partnership retreats.

Aaron began his legal career as a real estate attorney with Venable LLP in Washington, DC, with a focus on borrower-side commercial real estate deals, including acquisitions, sales, development, and leasing. He also spent time at Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) helping build and manage relationships with law firms (as clients and experts) and to source expertise for law firms’ client development, competitive intelligence, primary research, testimony, and consulting needs.

Aaron currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Appeals for the City of Gaithersburg, in Maryland, where he lives with his wife and four children.  He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A., summa cum laude, in International Relations and American History from the University of Pennsylvania.

Adrian Robert Gardner is General Counsel of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, an award-winning organization empowered by the State of Maryland to plan future land uses, regulate real estate projects and deliver a comprehensive 52,000-acre regional park experience for the public.

As chief legal officer, he employs hands-on leadership for an in-house legal team responsible for: an expansive litigation portfolio; reliable workplace and other forensic investigations; representation in external inquiries by law enforcement and oversight authorities; public-private partnerships; interagency agreements for federal highway and transit funding; complex construction claims, contract disputes, and bid protests; corporate governance and policies covering ethics, diversity, inclusion, minority business enterprise and EEO practices; and the organization’s state legislative affairs.

Last year, Adrian launched “NextGen OGC” in his law department.  This initiative integrates legal project management principles with CRM tools and automated work flow elements for a new enterprise matter management technology.

Before joining the Commission, Adrian spent more than a decade in the private sector, including four years as chief legal and financial officer of a concrete manufacturing and distribution company that specialized in large commercial construction projects.

Adrian is a frequent public speaker and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center.  He also taught previously for the Judicial Institute of Maryland and Northeastern University.  He is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel, Maryland State Bar Association, and other voluntary bar associations in the area.  Adrian is currently admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for Maryland, the Court of Appeals for the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Adrian earned his law degree with academic honors from Harvard Law School.  He also was named a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he received a master’s degree in public policy.  For his undergraduate education, Adrian attended Northeastern University in Boston and was awarded a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with high academic honors.

Anthony Widdop is the Global Director of Legal Project Management at Shearman & Sterling where his role is focused on embedding tools, techniques and behaviors as part of the firm’s commitment to finding innovative and efficient legal solutions and service delivery for its clients.

Anthony previously co-created one of the very first law firm pricing roles globally in 2008 at CMS Cameron McKenna in London. As part of that role he led a high profile, long-term culture change program to raise business performance in the areas of pricing, profitability and project management.

Prior to joining Shearman & Sterling Anthony spent six years in management consulting where he led the change management proposition for a Big 4 firm in the UK and delivered global change projects across the banking, insurance, oil and gas and mining sectors.

Bree L. Johnson leads Robins Kaplan's client development, pricing and Legal Project Management (LPM) efforts. Her work includes leading key elements of the firm's strategic plan, executing on client intelligence and development strategies, pricing creative rate arrangements, monitoring matter plans and budgets and overseeing large portfolio initiatives. She works collaboratively with clients and attorneys to efficiently and cost-effectively achieve shared goals of value, insight and predictability.

Bree is a licensed attorney dedicated to driving results in the business of law with an emphasis on operations management, client and business development, matter management, pricing and firm strategy. She has demonstrated success with high visibility project leadership, escalated matters and clients, process efficiencies and cross-functional collaboration. A passion project is leading strategic initiatives informed by complex data analytics. She also has significant experience supporting preferred panel programs and complex legal portfolios for top clients.

Bree is a frequent legal industry speaker with presentations on matter staffing, the voice of the client, LPM and the role of pricing in a law firm at events and conferences sponsored by Legal Marketing Association P3, True Value Partnering Institute (TVPI) and the American Bar Association.

cum laude graduate of Hamline University School of Law, Bree has helped multiple law firms, as well as Thomson Reuters Business, in leadership roles that seek to define and execute on business goals while introducing efficiencies necessary to meet them. She is currently attending The Wharton School’s Emeritus Institute of Management certified data analytics program.

Bree is a certified Legal Project Manager, Accredited Legal Pricing Professional (ALPP) and a Six Sigma Black Belt professional. She received her undergraduate degree with distinction from the University of Wisconsin.



Erica Godwin is an Accredited Legal Project Management Professional (ALPMP) and an attorney with active bar admissions in the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Early in her legal career, Erica began to instinctively and informally apply the principles of Legal Project Management to mitigate inefficiencies she spotted in complex and fast moving regulatory investigations and litigations.  Erica added structure, process, and efficiencies to global case teams. 

Erica became a certified Legal Project Manager (LPM Institute) in 2015 and since that time has focused her career on formally implementing legal project management principles and process improvements across a variety of practice areas and matter types within the large law firm environment.  At Hogan Lovells, Erica leads the effort to expand legal project management across the fourteen regulatory practices comprising the global regulatory practice group.  Erica collaborates with clients, legal operations departments, partners, case teams, and other business services professionals to identify solutions to best manage portfolios of work and identify lessons learned and opportunities for continuous improvements on future engagements. 

Jaimee Farrer serves as Managing Attorney for GSK’s Global External Legal Relations Team (GELRT), an arm of GSK’s Dispute Resolution and Prevention Group.  She is responsible for negotiating and drafting value-based Alternative Fee Agreements (AFA’s) with GSK’S outside counsel in furtherance of GELRT’s mission to significantly reduce GSK’s external legal spend while ensuring continued excellent legal representation.

Prior to joining GSK, Jaimee practiced as a litigator in Reed Smith LLP’s Life Sciences Health Industry Group representing clients in mass tort, product liability, and personal injury actions.  She has defended pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer products companies in federal and state court litigation, including multidistrict litigation and parallel state court proceedings, up through and including trial. 

Jaimee began her legal career as an associate in Dechert LLP’s Mass Tort and Products Liability Group where she served as a key trial team member in several high-profile cases resulting in defense verdicts.  She is a graduate of the University of Delaware (B.A., English and Psychology) and Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Mark Van Blargan is a member of the firm’s Management Committee and is the member in charge of innovation.  As such, he chairs the firm’s Futures Committee, Technology Committee, Legal Project Management Committee, and Knowledge Management Committee.

Mark is also chair of the firm’s Healthcare group and a member of the Education Law group.  For some clients, Mark acts as outside general counsel.  For other clients, he acts as special counsel, particularly for complex mergers and acquisitions.

Megan V. Panchella is Reed Smith’s Senior Manager of Legal Project Management and a key member of the firm's Client Value Initiative. Megan is a certified Legal Project Manager who oversees a Firmwide team whose focus is to understand the business needs of clients and create practical and innovative pricing and legal project management strategies designed to meet those needs. Her objective is to provide firm clients with exceptional service centered on client value, cost-effectiveness, predictability, and efficiency.

Megan was instrumental in designing the firm’s matter management reporting system and continues to assist with technology efforts for Client Value. Drawing on her legal and analytical background, Megan brings a unique skill set to the effective management and efficient delivery of legal services.

Megan strives to understand how each client's business operates and to identify its specific goals, business objectives, and areas of potential improvement. She then uses Reed Smith’s proprietary suite of matter management tools and strategies aimed at more effectively budgeting, pricing, staffing, and managing client matters in a way that aligns with their businesses. When matters are concluded, she reviews client feedback and uses data analytics to devise strategies to improve matter performance and further strengthen client relationships.

Before joining Reed Smith Megan spent 7 years as a Complex Commercial Litigation Paralegal and Business Analyst at Kleinbard LLP.

Natasha Edlow is the Director of Pricing Analytics and Project Management at Covington & Burling LLP, where she champions pricing and profitability best practices in the Corporate, Litigation and Regulatory practice areas. Her expertise includes strategic pricing, legal project management, complex data analytics, financial modeling, expense management and business development.

Natasha has demonstrated success in the legal and financial services, management consulting and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining Covington, she served as the Senior Legal Project Manager for Littler Mendelson’s CaseSmart initiative and as Director of Finance for Pharmaceutical Research of Manufacturers of America. Natasha began her career in General Electric’s prestigious Financial Management Program and as a Senior Financial Analyst with Merrill Lynch.

Natasha received her MBA from American Public University and received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Finance from the University of Memphis.


Shea Twomey-Meuse is the Director of Matter Management Services at WilmerHale, an international law firm of 1,000 attorneys with 12 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.  In this role, Ms. Twomey-Meuse guides the development and continuous improvement of firmwide innovative legal project management services, including a team of 30 certified legal project managers.  Focused on delivering rapid business value to both attorneys and clients, Ms. Twomey-Meuse has facilitated changes that work within law firm culture and contributed to client satisfaction and improved economics.

Ms. Twomey-Meuse has been with WilmerHale over 28 years and previously held the position of Transactional Department Practice Manager.  In this role, she was responsible for facilitating and supporting the strategic goals of the Department, in addition to managing their business operations and annual budget.  Additionally, Ms. Twomey-Meuse was the day-to-day Practice Manager for the Real Estate, Bankruptcy, Environmental and Labor & Employment practice groups for many years.  In that role, she managed across offices to accomplish functional responsibilities including workload and staffing management of attorneys and paralegals, strategic planning activities, performance management, professional training, financial reporting, budget management, as well as other day to day administrative functions for these groups.  She also played a leadership role in driving the creation of a firmwide forecasting and reporting application for timekeepers.

Within the legal community, Ms. Twomey-Meuse contributes actively at conferences and network events.  She has presented at P3, LawVision and TVPi and is an LPM Institute Advisory Board Member.  She is also an Accredited Legal Project Management Professional (ALPMP), passed HBX CORE and completed HBX Disruptive Strategy with distinction.

Tim O’Leary is a Shareholder of Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. in its Business Litigation Practice Group.  He practices in both State and Federal courts in various jurisdictions and has extensive jury trial experience. Tim has substantial experience working on a wide-range of cases and matters such as attorney negligence, insurance coverage and bad faith, ERISA, and shareholder disputes. The Missouri Bar Foundation honored Tim for his trial ability by awarding him the prestigious Lon O. Hocker Award in 2006. He has been selected by his peers as a Best Lawyer in commercial litigation and has been included in Best Lawyers in America from 2016-2019.

Tim is Coordinator of the Sandberg Phoenix LPM initiative and works closely with the firm’s three LPM coaches to implement LPM in all practice areas.  The Claims & Litigation Management Alliance certified Tim as a Litigation Management Professional.  Tim also Chairs the firm’s Paralegal Program and has other leadership positions at Sandberg Phoenix and in outside professional organizations such as the Federal Bar Association, St. Louis Chapter.

As the Director of Legal Project Management (LPM), Janelle Belling is responsible for the continuous development and implementation of client and legal project management models and approaches, consultation with partners and clients on pricing, budgeting and matter management solutions to meet Firm and client needs.  She assists in the development and establishment of the firm-wide matter management framework of processes, tools, and technology which ensures efficient delivery of legal services and enables achievement of the Firm’s growth and profitability objectives. Janelle contributes directly to client satisfaction via her involvement and support of Perkins Coie’s Client Advantage™ Program.  Additionally, she is focused on improving efficiencies through shared management responsibilities, strengthening communication and making value (as defined by the client) transparent.

Janelle began her career with the firm as a paralegal and has also held roles as an Analyst, Project Manager, Manager of Project Management, and Managing Director of the firm’s E-Discovery Services & Strategy (ESS) practice.  With more than 20 years of discovery experience, she regularly assists attorneys and clients with developing electronic discovery workflows, plans and strategy, ranging from effective legal hold implementation and management and the identification, preservation and collection of data to negotiations regarding scope of discovery and cost shifting.

Carla Landry has worked in the legal industry, both in-house and as a consultant, for more than 25 years. She currently serves as a Senior Consultant with LawVision, where she coaches legal teams on implementing legal project management and legal process improvement techniques into their matters.

Carla, together with her colleague and a team of certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs), created the first project management certification program designed for legal professionals, and launched the first online e-learning course in legal project management. She is a certified Yellow Belt in Lean Sigma/Process Improvement for Law Firms and works with firms to identify cost saving opportunities through streamlining the delivery of legal services and improving existing processes.

Carla developed two online e-learning courses for the Practising Law Institute (PLI), one on law firm profitability and the other on Legal Process Improvement, winning a Telly Award honoring “the very best in film and video.”  Law firms turn to her to develop e-learning programs to launch on their own systems.

Prior to joining LawVision, Carla was an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, teaching Economics and Profitability Law Firms as part of a master’s program in law firm management. She is also a former Senior Director in the Law Firm Strategy and Structure Practice of Hildebrandt Baker Robbins, where she advised law firms on a variety of financial, strategic, and operational issues. Her earlier consulting experience included working as a manager in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s Legal Systems group. In that capacity, she served as a project manager leading an international, multi-disciplinary team responsible for the analytical and diagnostic processes related to an investigative database.

David Alkins is a Certified Management Accountant and Accredited Legal Pricing Professional with nearly two decades of experience in project management, pricing, accounting, and finance.

In his role as Director of Matter Planning at Nixon Peabody LLP, David is responsible for the strategic direction of the firm’s client matter budgeting and planning program and leads the Legal Project Management team, which curates valuable data for decision-making purposes. David embraces the opportunity of guiding attorneys and staff to improve efficiency, communication, and transparency, while providing attorneys with useful data in managing the legal spend of clients. Under David’s direction, Nixon Peabody’s project management program has evolved into a flexible and dynamic support system that blends technology with a common-sense business approach to align the legal services Nixon Peabody provides with the business needs our clients face on a daily basis.

Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, David developed his financial, strategic, and instructional capabilities while working in telecommunications, manufacturing, consulting, and teaching. 

A lifetime learner and educator, David regularly participates in panels and presentations at legal industry events and serves as an adjunct lecturer in business courses at his alma mater SUNY Brockport.

David received his Master of Business Administration degree from the Simon School at the University of Rochester and his Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Brockport.


James Shoemaker is an Accredited Legal Pricing Professional (ALPP) and certified legal project manager with nearly 20 years of industry experience.  In his current role as the Director of Pricing and Matter Management, he is responsible for setting pricing strategy, consulting with partners and clients on pricing solutions, and establishing a matter management framework of tools and processes to ensure efficient delivery of legal services.  This includes oversight for all of the following functions: pricing, rate setting, legal project management (i.e., “matter management”), new business acceptance, and the establishment and maintenance of the required supporting systems and infrastructure for these functions.

Prior to taking on a business services role, Jim served in fee earning capacities as a paralegal, then in electronic discovery and litigation support.  This experience informs his change management approach, as he is able to relate to how today’s practitioners must balance the competing demands of legal practice and the business of law. 

A frequent speaker on the topics of legal pricing and project management, Jim’s core focus remains on maximizing the value of legal services by helping align the firm’s pricing and service delivery models with its clients’ legal needs and business objectives. 

Jim earned his B.A. from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). 

Rebecca H. Benavides is the Director of Legal Business in Microsoft’s Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs department. As part of the Legal Business, Operations and Strategy team, she leads development and oversight of the department’s strategies for engaging with legal service providers including, but not limited to, implementing alternative fee arrangements, optimizing value from outside counsel engagements, and driving adoption of technology innovation in legal service delivery. She recently joined Microsoft after serving as the Director of Legal Project Management for international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, where she led the firm’s pricing and legal project management programs in the U.S. She began her career in the “business of the law” by serving on the senior leadership team of Thomson Reuters’ LPO subsidiary based in Mumbai, India where she successfully developed efficient process-oriented approaches to assist the litigation unit complete numerous complex legal projects and rapidly scale capabilities for a roster of Fortune 100 companies. She is a lawyer who previously practiced complex commercial litigation, antitrust, and securities law in federal and state courts in Texas and California.   Rebecca holds a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and a B.A. in English Writing from St. Edward’s University.

Susan Lambreth is a founding Principal at LawVision and is nationally recognized as one of the top leadership, practice group and project management consultants for law firms. For over 25 years, she has helped law firms of all sizes improve their profitability and enhance their lawyers’ leadership and management skills.

Susan is the Chair and Founder of the LPM Institute, a leading resource for educating law firms and law departments on implementing project management in their organizations. She has given hundreds of speeches on practice management, LPM, strategy and trends affecting law firms or law departments.

Prior to co-founding LawVision, she was with Hildebrandt International for almost 20 years, where, in addition to her consulting work, she chaired many of their conferences and led several of the most successful roundtables for law firm professionals. Prior to that, Susan spent almost seven years with Altman & Weil. She is also the author or co-author of six leading books on practice group management and legal project management.