CLM’s Litigation Management Institute was created in 2011 when several CLM members recognized a need for intense education surrounding litigation management. LMI Chancellor Taylor Smith previews the event, which takes place Oct. 18-21, 2018, at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law.
What need is LMI attempting to fill?
Everyone in the field, from both the outside counsel and industry professional side, had learned what they knew about litigation management on the job. So skill sets were vastly varied and there were large gaps in knowledge about the business aspects of litigation management.
How does LMI work?
It’s a unique program for CLM. We limit it to only 100 participants annually. It’s a combination of pre-course reading, in-class instruction, and group projects. In other words, it’s not your typical industry conference. This is a serious educational program. Participants must successfully complete each component of LMI to earn their Certified Litigation Management Professional (CLMP) designation.
Who is the ideal LMI student?
LMI was created for the experienced professional—someone with at least 10 years of practice in the industry. It’s extremely beneficial for outside counsel because it helps them better understand their clients and the industry. For industry professionals, it really helps solidify the concepts of litigation management and strengthen their expertise. Some past participants have called LMI transformational for their careers.
What does your role as chancellor entail?
There are four chancellors: Larry Beemer (vice president of claims, IAT Insurance Group); Mari Leigh (founder, Mari Henry Leigh & Associates LLC); John McGann (head of litigation and vendor management, XL Catlin); and myself. Together, we guide the development and fine-tuning of the program. Each year, we reevaluate the courses and the course content. We also help identify instructors and work with them on their course materials, carefully selecting instructors who are well-recognized industry experts. We also oversee all elements of the group projects.
I hear the group projects are pretty challenging?
Word has gotten out! The first year of LMI, many of the students thought they would dash through the projects and then hit the town. They quickly realized that this isn’t that kind of program. We present the participants with a detailed, fictional case study, then provide them with specific questions that they must analyze and answer. The following morning, they present their projects to the chancellors and faculty, who question their assumptions and results. We try to really challenge them to make sure they aren’t just delivering simple answers. We want to see that they have thought through the case and the questions. There aren’t really right or wrong answers. It’s about the thought process.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a tremendous bonding experience. People stay closely connected with their groups for years, and make sure to connect with each other in person at other CLM events. We’ve even had groups show up for the morning presentations in matching t-shirts that they bought on the street.
How has the program changed over the years?
The core of the program has stayed the same since the beginning, but we do look at the courses and faculty each year to make sure the content is current. We’ve tweaked courses as the industry has evolved, but the overall course structure has remained the same. One thing we learned after the first year was to help guide the group projects a little more closely. During the first year, some groups debated assumptions they were making about the case study for hours. Like I said before, there are no right or wrong answers in the group projects, so we now advise groups to simply make the assumptions and move on. No more all-nighters!