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Looking Toward Legal Ops 2.0: Why is “Co-Innovation” the Key?

May 2019 |
Kelli Negro, Chief Marketing Officer, Mitratech

Who’s got the right insights into designing an airplane: the pilot who’s going to be taking a seat in the cockpit, or the engineer pouring over blueprints and test data?

The answer is both, of course. Without sharing their POVs and expertise with each other, nothing gets off the ground. The same thing holds absolutely true in developing any technology for Legal Operations: The product provider, its end users, even non-user stakeholders and others impacted by tech adoption need to have a voice in the final product.

Why? Because each of them is already being affected by the problems it’s trying to solve. They’ve got their own valid angles on those problems, and their own individual needs that have to be addressed.

When this kind of “co-innovation” is done right, it doesn’t generate compromised, design-by-committee products, but useful and effective solutions to real-world, on-the-ground Legal Ops challenges. And in our view (and that of most other Legal Ops professionals, we’ve found), it’s the magic ingredient for transforming Legal Operations – and even the legal industry as a whole.

Uniting a complex ecosystem

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.

Legal Ops 2.0 will only be a reality when an entire corporate legal ecosystem can be united under a single broad umbrella of best practices, governance, efficiency, and collaboration. One that features seamless integration of every product in a legal tech stack that expands innovation and excellence across the entire business.

When you consider the potential complexity of that ecosystem, and the different demands put on it by different users and stakeholders, unifying it and the many varied processes it contains may seem unlikely. Yet we’ve already seen the path forward, lighted by the work of Legal Ops pioneers who are proving right now that co-innovation is key.

Making it work in the real world

For these leaders, a primary step was to commit to becoming a more strategic partner to the rest of the enterprise, in effect creating “Legal Service Centers” within their corporate legal departments. These are designed to provide a hub of best practices, technology, innovation and excellence that can lift more than just the legal department. The rest of the company can be elevated, too, as those practices and tools are adopted elsewhere in the organization.

We’ve already seen this kind of cross-departmental adoption in action at companies where Legal Ops was the first to use a tool such as SaaS workflow automation; soon enough, other departments began to ask Legal Ops’ help in adopting it for their needs, too.

The contributors to our May 14 panel – Legal Ops leaders from The Gap, Shell, Ingersoll-Rand, and Keesal Propulsion Labs – have been driving these changes by prodding everyone inside and outside of their organizations with skin in the Legal Ops game to commit to co-innovation.

Like so many in both the CLOC and Mitratech client communities, they believe in sharing their experiences, so at this presentation they’ll discuss these efforts. They’ll have real progress to demonstrate in getting Legal Ops leaders, CTOs, internal clients, corporate stakeholders, technology providers, and implementation specialists to work together to improve outcomes and results at their respective companies.

The challenges these co-innovators have faced have ranged from change management to process improvement, adopting new technologies, and considering other fresh approaches to addressing existing challenges. But meeting any of these challenges has demanded teamwork and trust between everyone involved, and the willingness to embrace a shared vision of success.

The results? Our panelists have witnessed transformational changes in culture, behavior, outcomes, KPIs, and more. Plus, they’ve encouraged the growth of both CLOC and at least one solution-specific user community dedicated to the greater success of Legal Ops technology for everyone.

Building a use cases cloud

All of our panelists are advocates of building a stronger client/user community, something Mitratech is incredibly proud to be a part of. For them, process improvement and co-innovation are absolute cornerstones of Legal 2.0. As a means of embracing and promoting these? Taking an active role in the user community, where best practices and actual workflow designs can be shared.

Mitratech found one opportunity to promote co-innovation through something that was already happening organically in its TAP user community. The concept of a “workflow use cases cloud” that allows everyone involved to take a hand in moving Legal Ops forward by continuously sharing, adapting, refining and their work with each other. In fact, this even inspired us to formally promote online sharing of workflow designs among our user community via our TAP Co-Innovation Center.

Prepping for Legal 3.0

Creating and promoting mechanisms like this for sharing expertise and experience is foundational to achieving Legal 2.0, and is also laying the groundwork for the next step: Legal 3.0.

We don’t know exactly what 3.0 will look like, but there are some market trends that cannot be ignored. Advanced analytics and data-based insights will increasingly drive decision-making, new technology will become even more pervasive and potentially disruptive to traditional ways of conducting legal business, and Legal Ops will find it now has a far bigger hand in overall business strategy, both inside and outside of the legal department.

The ultimate lesson the success of our panelists provides for everyone in CLOC, or in Legal Operations anywhere? To stay active, innovative, and collaborative within your professional community, because you’ll receive as much as you give by embracing co-innovation. And you’ll be having a real role in shaping the destiny of the legal industry for years or even decades to come.

See You in Vegas for the 2019 CLOC Institute

Register here to attend CLOC 2019 Vegas Institute – and please join our CLOC session:

Legal Ops 2.0: How Co-Innovation is Driving the Industry’s Future
Tuesday, May 14th at 1:30pm
Speakers:

  • Vincent J. Cordo, Central Legal Operations Officer, Shell Oil Company
  • Justin Hectus, CIO/CISO, Keesal, Young & Logan
  • Jason Parkman, CEO Mitratech
  • Mike Russell, Lean Leader – Legal Operations, Ingersoll Rand

About the author: Kelli Negro is Chief Marketing Officer at Mitratech, charged with driving business results through omni-channel marketing and content strategies that are grounded in research, analysis and customer insight. Kelli joined Mitratech after a successful tenure at Thinksmart, a pioneer in SaaS workflow automation.

Questions? Email info@cloc.org.