2019 CLOC Sydney Institute – Key Takeaways

October 2019 |
Sheldon Renkema, General Manager – Legal at Wesfarmers; Co-Lead – Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) Australia

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 — to learn how to operate more efficiently and enable their legal operations functions to operate more effectively.

The conference kicked off with inspiring opening remarks from CLOC President Mary O’Carroll, followed by presentations over two days that included leveraging data, legal project management, and process automation. We explored the legal profession, learned how to make a case for legal funding, and dive deep into strategic partnerships, change management and best practices for execution as a new legal operations leader.

Our aim from the outset was to curate content that was tailored to the Australian legal marketplace, making it super practical and providing actions that could be applied readily to any legal team.

A few key insights I took away:

  • Legal departments are no longer asking whether to invest in the legal operations function. Australian organizations have determined that the need to build a departmental team that can deliver positive outcomes for both the legal function and create value for the organization as a whole.
  • CLOC continues to be the premier body for sharing legal operations best practice and insights. As Mary O’Carroll said, through CLOC it’s possible to “never start with a blank page”. We’re learning from each other as we grow our collective capability and shift the legal industry.
  • However, some challenges persist. Managing change and overcoming organizational resistance continues. Many legal teams cling to the status quo; however, there is increasing pressure to embrace new legal operations processes and best practices. One motivator remains clear, the desire for corporate legal teams to reduce costs and to facilitate value creation as part of the business.

CLOC Institutes are places that encourage us to think holistically about how to impact corporate objectives through operational efficiencies. Through networking and collaboration, we are able to streamline processes. You only need to visit the CLOC Core Competency Reference Model to see this in action.

Early adopters in the industry have indicated that, even for them, CLOC and their Institutes were more than a place to share knowledge but promoted equal opportunity to learn from others in the space. Today, legal departments all over the world can now look to collaborate with successful legal operations organizations, as well as to benefit from all CLOC has to offer to support and manage change generated by legal operations practitioners.

This year’s event was a resounding success! It demonstrated that the Asia-Pacific ecosystem – including corporate legal executives, law firms, and technology providers are excited to be a part of what is now a true global movement. More work remains to be done; however, the 2019 CLOC Sydney Institute represented the opportunity for legal operations professionals to continue to be change agents in their organizations and be a driving force to empower legal to operate as the “business within a business” that it is.