What is the right strategic approach for a legal department to optimize its return on investment for the resources it deploys to render legal services?
Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) today released the results of their 3rd Annual State of the Industry Survey of internal and external expenditure for legal services. The survey embraces more than 140 companies (including 27 Fortune 500) in 17 countries (including 33 US states), covering more than 30 industries, from biotech to consumer goods.
A fundamental question for any Legal Ops team is this: how do we know if we’re doing a good job? What would we measure to answer this question? More importantly, what would we measure to compare our performance to that of our legal peers?
Keeping metrics has become table stakes in today’s legal department and it often falls on the shoulders of legal operations to track and share those metrics. Identifying metrics, cleansing those metrics, and putting them forth can be quite a lift, but once you have the right metrics in place, you are able to make data-driven decisions about how to staff your team, what external resources you need, and drive efficiencies.
Since many of the WFH arrangements–technology, security, and workflows–were established under duress as the pandemic swept the globe, it is time to reflect on some of the best practices being established day by day as legal ops professionals learn and innovate.
Change is hard. Encouraging innovation and implementing change in an established and successful organization is even harder. Changing the legal service delivery model and implementing meaningful legal innovation, seemingly impossible. But it can be done.
My experience has taught me to view project management as having four pillars – client management, delivery management, team and stakeholder management, and financial management.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has illuminated the importance for legal ops teams to prioritize resources and leverage solutions more broadly so that we can address department challenges more holistically. Managing a portfolio of point solutions is simply not sustainable or scalable.
Based on my conversations, five distinct imperatives for attorneys and contract managers have surfaced amid the commercial turbulence; the operations professionals supporting these functions should also take notice. I call them the “The 5 ‘Ds’ of Managing Contracts in a Post-COVID World”.
One of the most complicated tasks facing companies today is the challenge of aligning the cultures and expectations of multiple generations in their organization. Today’s leaders need to manage the differences and similarities between four to six generations while integrating them into a cohesive, functional, high-performing team.
Working from home has become the new normal for many of us during this global pandemic. The current state of our environment is requiring many of us to adjust our lifestyle and routine and, hopefully, embrace the concept of working remotely, homeschooling our children and networking with friends and family via conference and video chats.
Traditionally, contracts have been relegated to the realm of legal. When a contract is needed, the first question is often: “Have you gotten legal involved?” It makes sense. The language and terms that govern a contract can be complex, and changing even a single word can radically alter the outcome of a contract.
The panelists agreed that “pure” relationship-based management is no longer enough. Relationships will always have a place, but there are stakeholders in client organizations (think CFO’s) that are not party to those personal relationships. Those stakeholders want to see objective data that proves that what they are getting is not nepotism, but good quality at a good price.
Unfortunately, the quarter-close hustle can put unnecessary strain on the relationship between Legal and Sales. Deal and contract status and rapid-fire communication can result in a lack of clarity, constant status updates and frustration. At best, the scenario is a chaotic sprint but the deals get done. At worst, Sales and Legal work in silos with little transparency, viewing each other as roadblocks instead of partners in shared success.
Whether it’s a fire, flood, earthquake or pandemic, disasters can strike at a moment’s notice and many organizations are unprepared to respond and still function. In times of crisis, a well-thought out business continuity plan is critical to prevent interruptions to the business.
From baseball to vendor management, data offers a tangible way to manage, monitor, and measure performance. For a law department, it’s important to build a winning team of vendors that it can count on to deliver results.
Some small tweaks to your RFP process can make a big difference in your results. Ideally, you want a process that both the buy and sell side find productive and efficient. That’s not always the case in many RFPs we are seeing today. Here are five questions to consider before you hit send that will help you have a better experience.
Our meetings have reinforced that CLOC’s 12 core competencies are not stagnant and continue to evolve in their application and impact. Here is a taste of what we are seeing you all accomplish. You can use these to plan your next project, benchmark with your colleagues, and to continue to show the value that you bring to your legal departments and companies.
Organizations, inside and outside of the legal sector, must come to grips with – and even embrace – disruptive forces like technology. They must ask themselves how they will evolve in response to such rapid, technological change – and how they will support team members and transform large systems simultaneously.
The third annual CLOC London Institute kicked off on January 20th, 2020, at the Landmark Hotel, London. Over the course of two days, an energetic crowd of 430 attendees from 27 countries came together to CONNECT, LEARN, and COLLABORATE.
As new ops leaders take on the role or existing legal ops professional broaden their portfolio, it is important to set clear vision and priority for your department or you will spend most of your day dousing fires.
Easy to use, clear and comprehensive reporting functionality has evolved from an added bonus to a must-have requirement for corporate legal teams when evaluating legal technology. The pressure on legal operations to demonstrate improvements and return has led to reporting features being almost as important as the fundamental benefits of the software tool in use.
here is a lot of buzz regarding the change AI is bringing to the legal space–who hasn’t read an article about “robot lawyers” coming to take our jobs? On some level we know this isn’t an accurate forecast, but the media thrives on the vagueness and uncertainty surrounding AI. Meanwhile, it’s often difficult for GCs to determine if a software pitch is the right solution for their legal operation needs.
The pace of transformation in the legal services market continues to accelerate and we’re seeing a growing enthusiasm from in-house legal teams to embrace this change. There are a growing number of opportunities to develop skillsets and embrace alternative legal careers, as well as to be at the forefront of this evolution by driving change and encouraging genuine thought leadership.
As the calendar flips over to 2020, many in the financial services industry are hearing the steady tic toc of the LIBOR clock counting down to 2021 when LIBOR becomes an obsolete reference rate.
Jenita Gillespie is Director of Legal Operations at Bon Secours Mercy Health. While she was originally hired as a Paralegal eight years ago, her personal path to the directorship is also the story of the transformation of legal operations at Ohio’s largest healthcare provider – a story that highlights the successes that can come with implementing strong, data-driven processes. We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Jenita to discuss how she was able to drive this transformation so other legal departments can learn from her story.
As billing guidelines become more complex, CLDs are discovering more guideline violations from their outside counsel, some of which can be hard to spot with manual invoice review processes. Often these violations are inadvertent, and the law firm may not even realise that they’re out of compliance with your guidelines.
Hundreds of legal operations leaders gathered in early September for the CLOC 2019 Sydney Institute at the Westin Sydney. This energetic and engaged crowd included corporate general counsel, heads of legal operations, legal service provider representatives, and legal technology providers all coming together with a single purpose…
If your legal department is losing sleep over the sunsetting of LIBOR take heart. Although you may have a large volume of contracts to repaper before this financial industry benchmark becomes obsolete at the end of 2021, you can put systems and partners into place now to minimize the workload and stress on your team.
Today, the role of legal operations has been more frequently tasked with finding opportunities to run RFPs and this task can be challenged by push-back from managing attorneys. While there are many use cases for RFPs that include establishing a panel of firms company-wide or by practice area to properly align…
If your organization is spending seven figures each year with external legal service providers, chances are you sometimes struggle to spot legal billing violations. To get a better sense of where your next cost savings opportunity could be hiding, here are five legal billing violations that we frequently see eluding even the most diligent legal departments.
In this post, we will demystify these terms and consider the role of Legal Ops in the successful execution of change.
In the wake of what’s known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many businesses are undergoing a process called Digital Transformation (DX) in order to adopt and adapt to new technologies that are changing the way we live and work. Digital Transformation has evolved into a mega trend, fundamentally changing both how we do things, and customer expectations of how we will interact with them.
In the future, the new normal for organizations will be a blended workforce where bots are used to augment full time employees who can then maximize their time performing strategic, creative, and human-centric initiatives. Robotic automation can remove the limitations of today’s systems and technology, which require people to perform mundane procedural tasks to satisfy the needs of the business.
Through my experience as both a member and employee, I continue to be impressed at how the growth and excitement around CLOC continue to build as thousands come together to talk about the latest trends in legal operations.
The truth is, law school can feel detached from the reality of practicing law. What I’ve discovered during my time with CLOC, is the way that lawyers work, the legal services that are available to clients, and how clients pay for those legal services, are all changing. That’s today’s reality. And, I think that our law school curriculum, at its core, should reflect those changes.
Attending the 2019 CLOC Institute in Las Vegas was an invaluable way for me to learn about the legal operations function and build a lifelong network of industry professionals. It was an honor to be recognized on stage during the conference before over 2,000 attendees.
Many teams in organizations face challenges where resilience is needed in order to maintain high-performance and well-being. This is especially true for teams working on high-stakes matters, under time pressure, and in intense environments, much like the work your team is doing in the legal profession.
On May 14-16, 2019 over 2,200 attendees filled the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas for the 4th Annual CLOC Institute. The hallways, exhibit hall and session rooms teamed with a mix of veterans and those new to the legal ops profession.
Our 4th Annual CLOC Institute in Las Vegas last week was, as so many attendees pointed out, filled with an energy level and positivity that was off the charts. I returned home more energized and inspired than ever before!
When we were considering the topics we could highlight at our panel at this year’s CLOC Institute Vegas, it made perfect sense to focus on co-innovation…and how it’s a proven, powerful tool with limitless potential for shaping tomorrow’s evolution of Legal Operations: Legal Ops 2.0.
With so many benefits, adopting a CLM technology has become a goal for many legal departments. A proper plan in place with metrics to track each step of the journey can make the adoption easy and avoid hiccups on the way. We have identified four such steps in the CLM journey to ensure high adoption.
This is the third in a three-part series of blog posts to provide CLOC members with context regarding several of the major strategic areas in which law departments can advance in their maturity.
This article is the second in a three-part series of blog posts to provide CLOC attendees with context regarding the major strategic areas in which law departments can advance in their maturity.
For legal departments, contracts have long been the forgotten piece of a company’s digital transformation puzzle. An attorney in the department might be asked to enter the contract process for drafting, negotiation and review, but may place little thought about…
The HBR team will be publishing a three-part series of blog posts regarding major strategic areas in which law departments can advance in their maturity. This post will focus on the topic of resource optimization and how departments can put the right resources in place to ensure work is done in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.
To stay competitive in the industry, access to detailed compensation data is absolutely essential. In 2018, CLOC conducted a compensation survey with its members.
Best practice: The term long ago surpassed buzzword status and reached ubiquity. After all, what organisation willfully adopts (let alone admits to adopting) the worst practices when doing business?
It’s the most exciting time to be in legal operations. With more attention on the role than ever before, legal operations professionals have the opportunity to drive real change through process efficiencies, new technologies, and vendor management – and we’re just scratching the surface.
The goal of the CLOC Metrics Initiative was to deliver a core set of metrics and a common language to be used within law departments to measure performance. The resulting set of metrics should be easy to implement and are based on readily accessible data using a number of common underlying systems such as eBilling, matter management or contract management.
Lisa Konie discusses how to create an internship program at your organization by using a step-by-step process developed through her personal experience at Adobe Inc. By utilizing these steps and guidelines you will be well on your way to developing your own successful internship program at your organization.
More is being asked of the modern day corporate legal department than ever before. General Counsel are required to function like a business within a business, optimizing people, processes, and technology to serve the company effectively and efficiently. Legal operations excellence is no longer an option; it must be top of mind.
Using strategic planning supported by technology process and support, cross-functional alignment and communication can help you build the right foundation for your legal department’s success.
As the year comes to a close, we think about what we’ve accomplished and what we’re grateful for. We treasure the relationships we’ve fostered with CLOC members, our vendors, and our supporters and we thank everyone for their contributions to our community.