A dozen years ago, Stephen Poor stood in front of the Seyfarth Shaw partnership and introduced an idea he would pursue until—and even after—he left the firm’s chair position last year. The idea would eventually become a major part of Seyfarth’s business, now known as SeyfarthLean, and would earn the firm a reputation as a first-mover in an area that clients are increasingly demanding: legal project management.

Then, this past May, came the layoffs. Seyfarth made headlines for laying off associates and staff, reportedly as many as 40, in part for a reduction in billable hours in the first quarter of 2017. And with layoffs come questions. What, if anything, does this say about Seyfarth’s lean strategy a dozen years in? And what does it say about the broader legal project management movement?

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