The Importance of Legal Portfolio Management

Updated January 17, 2024
8 min read
The Importance of Legal Portfolio Management

I first introduced the concept of legal project management for lawyers in 2014 in my book, "Legal Project Management," published by LexisNexis. I am recognized as one of the pioneers of Legal Project Management. As the law sector experiences radical changes and increased client pressures, many law firms and legal departments struggle to implement innovative strategies like Legal Project Management (LPM), Legal Process Improvement, and Portfolio Management.

This article aims to inspire lawyers, legal teams, and law firms to understand how Legal Project Management and related procedures, such as Legal Portfolio Management, can drastically transform their work. The paradigm shift is more than necessary — it has become a "change or die" situation for the legal profession.

Over the past decade, I have engaged with thousands of lawyers as a leading global expert in legal innovation. My work involves raising awareness and developing abilities in Legal Project Management, Legal Portfolio Management, and Legal Process Improvement. These disciplines all fall within the Legal Operations framework but are differentiated by large law firms and the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC). 

Different Priorities for External and In-House Counsel

As we delve deeper into Legal Portfolio Management, it's critical to consider external and in-house counsel's distinct roles and priorities. These practices vary between these two categories, and understanding these differences is essential to maximizing their effectiveness.

Specific applications for external counsel

Legal Portfolio Management is pivotal for external law firms and practice teams that need to delegate team members across multiple matters with varying priorities and deadlines. It provides a clear overview of all issues, milestones, and resource allocations. By executing these disciplines, law firms can maintain balance while meeting all client needs without neglecting tasks or last-minute cramming to meet deadlines.

Specific applications for in-house counsel

The connections between Legal Portfolio Management, Legal Project Management, and organizational strategy are significant for in-house legal teams. The efficient execution of legal projects is essential for achieving organizational outcomes. The larger an organization grows, the more crucial concepts like portfolio management become.

In-house legal teams can rely on Legal Portfolio Management to efficiently use resources across all legal matters and projects. The teams should focus on areas like contributing to strategic planning, understanding legal resource requirements, becoming informed purchasers of external legal services, developing legal project management capabilities, and incorporating legal portfolio management practices.


The concept of Legal Portfolio Management offers extensive benefits to attorneys, legal teams, external law firms, and in-house counsel. This innovative approach drastically transforms the legal profession's day-to-day operations from facilitating better resource allocation and streamlining workflow to enhancing client communication and case handling. Thus, promoting its adoption across the industry has become more critical than ever.

Whether you're an individual practitioner or part of a more prominent firm, refining your legal portfolio management skills could significantly enhance your practice's efficiency and effectiveness. As the landscape of the law sector continues to evolve, it might be high time to find a lawyer who incorporates Legal Portfolio Management into their practice, ensuring they are prepared to navigate the increasingly complex world of legal affairs.

Article by
Therese Linton
The BASALT Group

Therese Linton is a global Legal Project Management and Process Improvement leader. She wrote the book on Legal Project Management, published by LexisNexis in 2014. She also created The Positive Lawyer ® program, which combines online learning and coaching to transform legal mindsets and ways of working. Over the last decade, she has worked with thousands of lawyers to develop their capabilities and expand their skills in legal transformation and personal productivity.