Defining goals shows the direction of a legal project
Planning a client project from start to finish excites Procopé & Hornborg’s lawyer Anna Liinamaa. The general principles of project management help at succeeding.
“My favourite initiatives are the kind where I get to plan all the elements of the project from start to finish together with the client”, says Anna Liinamaa who specializes in data protection.
The size of projects naturally varies immensely. For example, big corporate acquisitions can take multiple years of work with dozens of parties from numerous countries and experts from almost every area of law. On the other hand, occasionally the commission can be quite small, a project managed by a single lawyer.
Project management has been a hot topic for a long time especially in the building industry, where projects are without exception carried out by multiple parties. The challenges of big building projects often also affect the lives of normal citizens. For that reason, the building industry has developed project management practices for years.
Everything starts from defining the commission
Similarly, to the building industry, good project management is also important in legal projects although the industries are very different. In order to succeed, it is important to clearly define the scope and objectives of the project
Only after defining the scope, can the project leader plan the other elements of the project such as the needed areas of law, staff resources, timetables, and budgets.
The project leader must also be a good communicator. They must be able to communicate clearly with both the client and their colleagues.
“For me, creating presentations and reports is one of the most fun aspects of the job. I want to try new visual solutions that give the customer a quick idea of the project and its progress”, says Liinamaa.
For the client, the law firm’s good project management is reflected in the fact that the lawyers focus on the essential. This creates efficiency and ultimately leads to timetables and costs being met and the achievement of goals.
Corporate acquisitions have employed the data protection professional
Liinamaa’s work at Procopé has focused mainly on data protection law. However, the surge of acquisitions that has been going on for a couple of years now has also employed Liinamaa a lot.
Data protection is also an essential issue in acquisitions. The analysis of the target company’s business and the risks associated with it must focus on, amongst other things, how the processing of personal data has been handled in the company, what risks are involved, and how the findings should be considered in the general terms of the transaction.
This is particularly important in industries where large amounts of personal data or for example, health data are processed, but in every acquisition also more ordinary aspects must be taken into account. The buyer and seller must, for instance, know exactly at what stage and to which extent the seller can transfer information related to the employees to the buyer.
What attracts Liinamaa in acquisitions is their clear goal orientation, the forward-paced work, and the contract negotiations themselves. “They allow you to reflect on the needs of the companies and the realities of business so that you can see clearly what underlies behind the different terms of the transaction”, says Liinamaa.
However, the legislator is working hard to ensure that there is enough to do on Liinamaa’s special plot also in the upcoming years. Following up on decisions taken by officials, case law and guidelines relating to data protection are also keeping Liinamaa busy. Recently, data protection lawyers have had their hands full with, for example, international data transfers, in addition to which an EU regulation on privacy and electronic communications is awaited in the near future.
For Liinamaa, law texts are counterbalanced with family activities, especially with the moments when she can unleash her creativity by drawing and inventing children’s songs together with her two-year-old daughter.
“In that endeavor, it is gratifying to find a reserve of creativity in oneself, which is also of use in the work of a lawyer,” says Liinamaa.