JordanFurlong + ops   68

Legal Operations Teams Are Growing But Still in Early Stages, Says Survey | Legaltech News
About 68% of legal operations departments in a recent survey said they were still in the early stages of development, with a majority saying they expect their technology spend to increase over the next year.

Christina Speakman, director of legal operations at JDA Software Inc. in Scottsdale, Arizona, said she took part in the “Spring 2019 Corporate Legal Operations” survey and considers herself part of the “early stage” group.
“I’d say we are at the front of the bell curve of those moving into using artificial intelligence,” Speakman told Corporate Counsel.

“Legal departments are often resistant to change,” she said, “and to accepting how automation can bring value to their position and team.”
9 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
For Legal Ops, Making Outsourcing Decisions Takes a Long-Term Outlook | Legaltech News
Legal operations professionals say the field, which aims to increase efficiency through tech and process improvement in-house, is growing, but many opportunities in the space may be outsourced long term.

After legal ops hits initial process improvement and tech adoption goals, maintenance is likely to be outsourced to keep head count and budget lower, some ops leaders said. Kevin Clem, the chief commercial officer at HBR Consulting, has already seen some departments outsource ops work.
“I think a lot of it will be outsourced,” said Connie Brenton, NetApp Inc.’s chief of staff and senior director of legal operations. Her team already outsources some legal ops work, including e-billing tool management.

She said “as a general rule it makes more sense to outsource maintenance” because it takes a “less expensive resource to maintain” than to design and implement a process. Out of 21 legal ops technology tools at NetApp, she said most are currently in maintenance mode.
Brenton said it has to be the “right place, right time, right price” to outsource. Tools and processes involved should be stable, meaning the tool has collected enough data and isn’t “having errors in the system.”
ops  offshoring  managedlegal 
9 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
SALI: Open legal industry standard formally launches | Legal IT Insider
As with any standard, SALI’s success or failure will depend upon adoption. “This new standard has the potential to bring forward many of legal procurement’s dreams about effectiveness and efficiency,” said Dr Silvia Hodges, CEO of Buying Legal Council, “Clients should quickly adopt the new standard and expect their firms to use it.”

The release follows the recent contribution by Bloomberg Law of several taxonomies to the SALI Alliance.  “Open legal standards like SALI are a critical component of providing transparency and accelerating innovation in the legal marketplace,” said Joe Breda, president of Bloomberg Law. “For this reason, Bloomberg Law is proud to not only serve as a member of SALI but to have contributed some of our proprietary taxonomy to the open standard.” Bloomberg Law has provided taxonomy codes for U.S. Governmental Bodies, U.S. federal statutes and international organizations.”

While much of the focus of SALI is currently in the US, the ambition is for the standard to be global.

“This draft of the standard is the collective work of many people and organizations. Notably, Bloomberg Law and the Free Law Foundation have made major contributions of codes for U.S. Governmental Bodies and U.S. Courts that are used in more than 5 million publicly available documents,” said Toby Brown, SALI Board president.

“The work SALI is doing to establish industry standards on matter types addresses two critical problems facing the legal industry: first our continuing quest for value-orientation and second, extreme inefficiency in the buying and selling of legal services,” said Jae Um, Director of Pricing Strategy at Baker McKenzie.
ops  standards  pricing 
11 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Innovation in Law Firm Operations: Takeaways from LMA's P3 Conference | Rainmaking Oasis, LLC
Nearly four hundred professionals gathered for the 7th annual P3: Practice Innovation Conference focusing on project management, process improvement and pricing and hosted by the Legal Marketing Association.  It was an impressive group of experts and very instructive to see how law firms continue to expand their commitment to legal operations and innovation in their efforts to improve client service delivery and value.  Included below are a few highlights from the conference sessions.
11 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
AI for the Masses: Artificial Intelligence Now an Option for Smaller Practices | Legaltech News
“I think what is going to happen in general in the industry is you’re going to see it be a part of any legal tech product … whether there is an initiative to go out and buy or develop AI products or not,” says Jeff Marple, director of innovation for the legal department at insurance company Liberty Mutual.

Even with these advances though, significant barriers to adoption remain. And the ability to create bespoke, proprietary AI systems is still largely the domain of a well-funded few at the upper echelons of the legal market.

Yet there are some signs that even this is shifting. The rise and continued growth of “productized” AI means the technology can be more accessible to small and mid-sized law firms and legal departments than ever before. AI products will also likely get better and easier to deploy over time, and some legal teams are creatively pushing the limits of what AI can do and be in a market that has traditionally been underserved.

The days where small and mid-sized buyers were little more than an afterthought for AI developers, it seems, are long gone.

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How the Cost was Cut
As AI becomes more of an essential component of legal tech platforms, it’s becoming cheaper to use. Marple notes, “The implementation cost is coming down significantly.” There are several reasons behind this growing affordability, including the advancement of a wholly different technology: cloud computing.

In the past, if someone wanted to bring an advanced technology like AI in-house, they had to support it with physical servers and staff to configure and manage the software—essentially the body and muscles behind the brain. But now, the paradigm has completely shifted, says Ryan Duguid, chief evangelist at workflow automation company Nintex and a tech veteran who previously held various position at Microsoft.
client  robo  ops 
june 2019 by JordanFurlong
Q&A: What Microsoft's Legal Ops Director Has Learned From 10+ Years of Using ALSPs | Legaltech News
Corporate Counsel: What have you learned from your initial working relationships with ALSPs?
Tom Orrison: Make sure you really do partner with your alternative legal service provider. Make sure you bring them in, educate them about your business, let them know what you care about and paint a very clear picture of what success looks like. Then monitor and track that.

CC: How do you monitor that?

TO: We typically have technology to track individual items. We track service-level agreements, types of requests. And we have key performance indicators that we try to meet every month.

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If things aren’t going well, we have an early line of sight, so we can address those issues and course correct. We have very open and honest discussions about how to fix it. We try not to frame those problems as, “Hey provider, do better.” It’s more, ‘What’s the problem? And can we do something to help?”

CC: Are there still some challenges when it comes to in-house counsel using ALSPs?

TO: I’ve worked with attorneys for my entire professional career, over 20 years. They’re trained to be risk-averse.

Make sure they’re comfortable that what you’re doing is relatively low-risk compared to other legal work. If you can get them in a position where they understand that there are higher-value tasks they could be focused on if we took some of the tasks off their plate, that helps.

Make sure you pull the attorneys in, that they understand what is going on with continual status reports, updates, that they get to meet the team. Those things do help smooth things out and make them work better.
ops  client  IT' 
june 2019 by JordanFurlong
CLOC’s 2019 Growing Pains | TechLaw Crossroads
But here’s the real rub: even if law firms become members, unless and until law firm management decides to participate as opposed to offering up those who can’t make fundamental strategic decisions, I’m not sure that CLOC and its conference will be able to drive the kind of changes or meaningful dialogue it wants. Talk to any legal/tech vendor and they will tell you the hardest thing about marketing to law firms is that the decision maker is rarely in the room for the pitch and will only get a summary from someone else two or three times removed. Too many law firms still manage themselves with lawyers and either don’t invite the other legal personal that don’t happen to be lawyers (to avoid using the “non” word) to the strategic table or don’t listen to them if they do. It’s all well and good for legal ops people in firms to get to participate and dialogue with corporate CLOC members but until they can actually drive change in their firms, progress will be slow.


Its a sad fact that change in law will still have to be fundamentally driven and dictated by the clients, the legal departments

Its a sad fact that change in law will still have to be fundamentally driven and dictated by the client and their legal departments. The people in these departments are already members and are having real conversations about what needs to change and how to do achieve these changes.  So adding law firm members who often are dragging their feet and reluctant at best to change may lead to little more than frustration.

The best solution may be for CLOC to turn its law firm membership into a selective one: you have to be invited in and meet certain criteria and make certain commitments to participate. While O’Carroll and the CLOC Board didn’t say that this was the plan, it appears to me at least to be where CLOC is headed. Such a plan would insure CLOC would get the kind of law firm participants and leaders it wants and needs without getting the kind that add nothing but heartburn.
ops  client 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
New Littler 'On Demand' App Has a Human Side: Shift Lawyers | The American Lawyer
Clients will use the service by submitting questions on a newly built app, either via mobile or desktop. If the question has already been asked in an organization, it will elicit previous attorney responses. And for new inquiries, on-call Littler “on-demand” attorneys—who have an average of 15 years of experience and will work a set shift—will work to generate real-time answers. They can either respond directly or collaborate with Littler attorneys with more specialized knowledge on particularly complex questions.

Fees will range from traditional hourly rates, blended rates or any other arrangements sought by clients. Regardless, Forman said that the expense for clients would be less than the cost of salary and benefits for new in-house counsel.

Clients will also have access to a dashboard that shows what other questions are being asked, in order to gain a picture of other issues or concerns that they should have on their radar. Forman gave the example of a wage and hour question that might alert a client to a compliance issue or stimulate an opportunity for further training.

The new platform also relies on a recognition that the traditional law firm career progression does not work for everyone.

“For years, you would come in as a lawyer and then be on the partnership track or no longer at a firm,” Forman said. “We’re very cognizant that today’s lawyers are looking for different things.”

He added that many lawyers who moved in-house seeking greater certainty about their hours were encountering some of the same expectations they faced at firms.

“This delivers what most people mistakenly believe the in-house position offers: a set schedule, working on interesting legal issues for important clients,” Forman said of the “on demand” lawyers, who essentially work as an extension of the client’s legal team.
clients  talent  flex  it  ops 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
Business of Law Podcast-Tagulous Demo for CLOC Las Vegas Institute 2019 – Business of Law Podcast
Microsoft Legal Business, Operations, and Strategy demonstrated a proof of concept project called Tagulous at CLOC’s 2019 Las Vegas Institute. This project is designed to instrument communications like email with text tags to create a flexible and extensible approach that enables data collection and workflow automations. It allows organization to develop domain specific training sets that link unstructured data (standard communication text) and structured data (tags) to enable machine learning scenarios.
ops  robo  it  data 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
CLOC Is Opening Up to (Some) Firm Lawyers | Legaltech News
“We believe CLOC has a huge role to play in bridging that divide and driving change at scale. And so right now we’re really actively working on getting law firms more engaged in the CLOC community,” O’Carroll said. CLOC is also working with firms and other organizations on a study to outline the needs in-house teams have for their outside counsel.

At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, CLOC board members stressed that outside counsel will not be granted access to in-house counsel and legal ops professionals’ CLOC forum, in part to combat concerns that firm lawyers could use the network to build business rather than collaborate on innovation. Instead, outside counsel will have their own CLOC forum, which in-house counsel can opt to participate in to work on overlapping issues, such as legal industry diversity.

Board member Lisa Konie, Adobe Inc.’s senior director of legal ops, said CLOC is beta testing with law firms already involved with the community. The law firm beta test membership will not initially be open to members of the Big Four, though board members said that could be a future possibility.
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
What Does the Big 4's Legal Tech Push Mean for Law Firms? | Legaltech News
He considers the legal managed services aspect of EY’s business to be different from the track taken by traditional law firms, which Grossmann characterized as operating in the “high-end legal advice” domain.

If that’s true, then the real question may be how much longer law firms can afford to operate that way once high-end advice starts looking like less of a niche. Per Grossmann, EY is already making strides on the advisory side of the equation by onboarding legal talent to service clients and fill in any gaps left by technology.

“But at the same time we’re investing heavily in legal operations, which is really our new line of business, which is where we address the needs of legal functions which are not directly related to the main knowledge,” Grossmann said.

To be sure, law firms are investing in those resources too. The firm of Bird & Bird, for example, also employs Luminance. However, according to IT director Karen Jacks, clients rarely ask for a specific brand of legal tech by name. Instead, they express the same interest in efficiency and expediency that Grossmann identified at EY.
accountants  ops  clients  competition 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
NRF meets client demand with new legal ops grad scheme | Legal IT Insider
Norton Rose Fulbright has launched a new graduate scheme focused on business and legal operations. The two-year programme will be built around a series of rotations through business solutions; commercial management; innovation; legal project management; and pricing and resource management.

“The decision to launch the scheme is driven by the business need to support our internal change and innovation programme,” commercial director David Carter told Legal IT Insider. “Clients are increasingly telling us that how we deliver services is as important as the quality of the technical legal advice they receive in terms of value.”

Carter added that the huge opportunities that the firm sees to tap into new business lines by offering different delivery propositions are already being exploited.

“Just this week, we won a major mandate with a FTSE 100 company where all the engagement was driven out of these teams, rather than our legal teams. The demand is definitely there and we need first rate people to deliver it,”

In addition to increased client demand, Norton Rose Fulbright’s decision to launch the grad scheme was driven by a pronounced skills shortage. Despite a growing number of specialist courses created by a number of law schools, and lateral moves from other industries and from within law itself, many law firms are facing a recruitment challenge in this burgeoning area.

“In the face of this skills shortage, we have made the significant decision to mould these people ourselves,” said Carter. “Another advantage of a grad scheme is that it gives participants the opportunity to experience all the different elements that we are looking at. It is really important that these things are interconnected. We see the scheme as a powerful natural hedge against silos.”
ops  innovation  schools  admission  training  recruiting 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
CLOC London – Getting To Grips With Data + Better Contracting – Artificial Lawyer
Artificial Lawyer attended the CLOC EMEA conference in London yesterday, and as well as meeting and chatting with an array of great legal innovation and legal ops folk, managed to attend a couple of sessions. The first was on data in the inhouse world, the other was on rationalising contract processes and legal automation.

The two sessions neatly summed up the wide range of experiences across the inhouse legal world, ranging from elementary needs such as collecting data on which law firms you are using, to creating massive clause banks and working with LPOs and a range of tech companies to drive document automation at a truly industrial scale.
ops  metrics  clients  change 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
CLOC’s European Institute 2019 – the key takeaways | Legal IT Insider
CLOC is putting politics behind it and already felt like a settled ship after the departure of former president Connie Brenton and board member Jeff Franke shortly before the conference. O’Carroll acknowledge the departures at the start of the conference and one delegate commented that it was “awkward” but we say well done for not brushing it under the carpet and pretending that it hadn’t happened. It was always going to be a bit awkward.

– O’Carroll said in her interview with us that she wants to go back to CLOC’s roots and focus on collaboration and education. The priorities for this year will include looking at how to expand the membership to law firms without diluting what it already offers legal ops staff
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Founder Connie Brenton Resigns From CLOC, Citing 'Different Directions' | Legaltech News
The founder of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), an organization that provides education and networking opportunities for legal operations professionals, has resigned.

Connie Brenton, the senior director of legal operations at NetApp Inc. and CLOC’s founder and now-former chairman of the board, resigned Wednesday. Executive team and board of directors member Jeff Franke, who was the assistant general counsel, legal operations, at the company formerly known as Yahoo Inc., also resigned from CLOC.
“This organization was put together with the passion and the commitment and the vision, the combined vision of all of the participants. And it has taken participants from the entire legal ecosystem,” Brenton said. “However, we are at a point now, we’re exactly three years old, we’re moving in different directions now. The board is more interested in moving the organization to a caretaker role versus that dynamic and growing organization and that isn’t as much fun for me.”
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Launches Cantilever | Business Wire
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) today launched a combined legal operations consultancy division that brings together multi-award-winning teams on both sides of the Atlantic. The new division will operate globally under the new name of Cantilever. It brings together the BCXponent and Streamline brands, as well as other teams that support our clients’ in-house teams in improving their legal operations and service delivery to their businesses.

The division consists of 20 highly qualified process engineers, data scientists and technologists who are experienced at working with in-house teams, lawyers and attorneys to help law departments improve legal service delivery to the business. The team has also developed its own proprietary software platform, called CrossLite, which is a sophisticated data management and analytics tool that has been specially designed to meet the needs of the modern legal function.

Cantilever will be led by co-founders Katie DeBord and Chris Emerson. DeBord is Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Chief Innovation Officer, while Emerson is the firm’s Chief of Legal Operations Solutions. The team also includes highly regarded legal technologist Bruce Braude, Director of Legal Operations Solutions for EMEA.

Services will include: providing legal operations and technology consultancy; designing effective and efficient processes and systems for contract, matter and litigation management; and delivering document and decision-making automation solutions.
innovation  consulting  ops  newlaw  competition 
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
Legal Ops Increasingly Relied Upon for 'Business Discipline' Over Past 10 Years | Legaltech News
The 10th anniversary LDO Survey, available for download through Above the Law, focuses largely on the differences in law department operations from 2008 through now. For instance, the survey analyzed the top challenges faced by the operations office: In 2008, the top two challenges were positioning oriented, namely how to identify opportunities for business improvement (67 percent) and show the value of the position to the corporation (53 percent). Now, the top two challenges are more business oriented, namely how to drive and implement change (42 percent) and to contain costs (32 percent).
“The challenges today look a whole lot like the challenges that every business unit faces,” Blickstein explained. “Legal ops people, they’re brought in to bring business discipline to law departments. If you look at the challenges for 2017, you could talk to the leaders at any department in a company, and those are the kinds of things that they would say.”

That theme of being integrated into the wider business of the company is one that runs throughout the anniversary survey. Another figure compares how often operations personnel felt they were involved in corporate strategic initiatives: In 2017, 50 percent said “frequently,” compared to just 28 percent in 2008.

According to Blickstein, this reflects how what’s asked of the modern legal operations professional deals with more than just the law department. “Legal ops is the perfect person to go to for privacy and data security, but that’s not an issue that’s owned by the law department alone,” he said. “There’s issues like that, reputation issues and other things, that are pervasive.”

But of course, not every legal operations function is mature, and many legal ops professionals are still working to be integrated into the business. That’s reflected in the salaries reported by the survey. While 17 percent reported having a salary over $250,000, more than double the percentage in 2008, the proportion with a salary under $150,000 (58 percent) has also increased.

The stratification, in Blickstein’s opinion, is reflective of what businesses are asking of their legal ops personnel, and how many elements of an organization their day-to-day job touches. “There are a bunch of people out there that are highly strategic, highly valuable and critical elements of a law department. And then there’s also people that are just doing a function, and that’s all that law department is doing. I think that accounts for the stratification quite a bit,” he explained.
ops  client 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
Our journey to Big | Legal Evolution (067)
Many lawyers and law firms claim to serve the middle market, often describing how they deal directly with owners and executives rather than in-house counsel. Although these clients aren’t the Fortune 500, the lawyers and law firm leaders take enormous pride in this type of practice and discuss it in ways that suggest it’s a stable and permanent market niche. I’m not sure that’s right.
clients  firms  ops 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Walmart's In-House Counsel Tells How the Retail Giant Is Changing Its Legal Ops | Corporate Counsel
He explained that until the turn of this century, the large retailer was heavily leveraging outside counsel and realized that, along with the policy of taking all cases to trial, needed to change. The first issue that Walmart needed to fix was a lack of centralization in the legal department.
Walmart’s legal department first put all of their outside counsel on the same engagement letter—they decided to have the same terms for all outside counsel.

“What we had found is that sometimes with the same firm, we would have different engagement letters,” Bryan explained.

Walmart’s legal department then took all of the data it collected over the years and organized it to be easily searchable.

“We wanted to be able to accomplish an accurate way of reporting out on things like spend and the performance of outside counsel,” Bryan said.

There was also a turn toward time-saving technology that would allow lawyers to take more time to focus on more difficult tasks.

“We announced a partnership with a company called LegalMation and we’re using software to take a complaint filed against the company—generally speaking in tort and in general litigation matters—feeding that complaint into the system and the system, within two minutes, kicks out an answer, a first set of interrogatories and a first set of requests for production. That is reviewed by an attorney but what we’ve found is that it is saving 60 to 70 percent of the time that would normally take to review that complaint,” Bryan explained.
clients  innovation  ops 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
Legal Operations Health Check Survey
The Legal Operations Health Check brings together learnings from the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium and the ACC Legal Operations Maturity Model.

This 100 point check is designed for Legal Departments of any size, and the questions asked are designed to be relevant to you, whether your team includes 2 or 2000 members.

The Legal Operations Health Check provides you with:
an efficient way to self-assess your legal operations capabilities
a report which identifies your team's priorities and some resources to point you in the right direction
If you need to exit and return to the survey, all completed sections will be saved.

Xakia will not release or sell your personally identifiable information to any third party. This survey is offered as a diagnostic tool for in-house legal departments; we will keep all your information confidential and handle any personal information in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
(11) Does the Rise of Legal COOs Spell Trouble for Law Firms? | LinkedIn
The very nature of the legal COO’s role is that they will want this information readily available, on demand, and will not accept firms failing to deliver it. The conversation will no longer be; “Wasn’t that a great piece of work we did for you?” It will be much more along the lines of, “We successfully completed that engagement for you. Here’s a complete breakdown of our costs against the fee we quoted, the people who worked on the matter, exactly what they did for you in terms of time and deliverables and what we believe are the next steps you should be considering, together with a projected timescale and potential cost.”

As such expectations become standard, the nature of the conversation with clients will fundamentally shift, and with that, law firms need to ask themselves who within the firm is best positioned to lead that conversation. It may no longer be the client service/relationship partner.

Delivering results in themselves will not be enough. Legal COOs will want a detailed understanding of how they were delivered and at what cost to his/her firm. If you’re unable to produce that data, than it compromises the ability of the COO to perform their role of achieving operational excellence. So guess what? They will look for law firms that can. There will always be exceptions to any generalisation, which clearly this is. But COOs are unlikely to have brand loyalty to a particular law firm, which may have existed prior to their arrival. They will have their own set of criteria for selecting and maintaining relationships, not just with law firms, but with any provider of legal services that meets their operational requirements. 
ops  clients  firms 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
Legal Operations is Hot. But Legal Culture is Lukewarm Toward It |
Legal operations (legal ops) is a hot topic these days. The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) recently held its annual jamboree in Las Vegas, drawing approximately two thousand acolytes from around the world. That was twice the prior year’s turnout and indicative of the buzz that the organization—and legal operations generally—is generating. The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) also has an active legal ops membership. Both CLOC and ACC Legal Ops have created a community of ops professionals—many of whom come from backgrounds other than law—committed to sharing best practices, answering questions, and proselytizing the industry about the importance of their work.
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
The Godfather just lateraled to a law firm (055) | Legal Evolution
Last Friday, David Cambria, the Godfather of legal operations, left his secure post at ADM (#46 on the Fortune 500) to become Global Director of Legal Operations at Baker McKenzie.  To be clear, Cambria’s title is not another name for “Chief Operating Officer,” an established role in law firms that focuses on internal cost and efficiency.  This is an outward-facing role designed to attract and cement client relationships.
july 2018 by JordanFurlong
Q&A: Baker McKenzie's Newly Hired 'Godfather' of Legal Operations | The American Lawyer
What do you expect the landscape for global firms to look like 10 years in the future?

Their expertise, their capabilities are going to be what drives people to a firm like Baker to solve very complicated problems.

The lawyers will really focus, at a global law firm, as legal integrators. [The concept was pioneered by consultant Bill Mooz and Indiana University Law professor Bill Henderson.]

Legal integrators design systems and solutions. They pull together bespoke lawyers at the firm They help and run manage systems, and by systems, I don’t just mean technology systems but really models that help deliver legal services. And they also pull into the mix legal specialists and subject matter expertise based on specific tasks, or allied professionals around data and processing and software technology. I think a global firm that manages those pieces and helps pull those all together is what the global firm of the future is going to look like.

ops  integrators  innovation 
july 2018 by JordanFurlong
Ten Years Burning Down The Road | Above the Law
his is despite the fact that every single sophisticated LDO professional or consultant I’ve ever talked to tells me that reporting to the general counsel is an absolute must for a successful legal ops function. Despite all the hype — and there’s so much hype — legal ops functions are actually less mature than they were 10 years ago. Those who are investing in legal ops are less serious about it than in the past.

To be fair, some of this is caused by a broadening of the function. To some, simply implementing a contract lifecycle management system means they are “doing legal ops.” To others, just leveraging some technology to better manage NDAs is “doing legal ops.” And that’s a problem. If we let the general counsel and business leaders view legal ops as a tactical function that can maybe save the company a few bucks, that’s what it will forever be.

There is much more to be done as the LDO position evolves as a professional career. What’s needed is a strong understanding of the core business, an ability to bridge the gap between the needs of the business and the requirements and nuance of the law, an understanding and commitment to use the resources of the law department to grow the company and the ability to manage outside law firm performance. Other necessary skills are applying the core strengths of any well-trained lawyer: analytical ability, attention to detail, logical reasoning, gravitas, sound judgment, and strong communication to both legal and business problems.
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
Legal Operations in the US vs. Europe: Is it So Different Across the Pond? | The American Lawyer
Connie Brenton, director of legal operations at Boulder, Colo.-based NetApp and chief executive of Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), said the role of director of legal operations has not taken hold in Europe like it has in the U.S., however the functions that go with the job are still being done by in-house professionals.

“We’re seeing the same progression in Europe as there was in the U.S.,” Brenton said. “Someone who liked technology or liked process would raise their hand and then it became more and more a part of their role.”

She said that the centralization of the ops function is picking up steam in Europe, but one problem has been defining the role of a legal ops director.

“Success begets success,” she said. “The role pays for itself. It only takes a couple of successful legal operations executives to be in place.”

Gary Tully, the head of legal operations at Gilead Sciences of Foster City, California, who recently returned from a business trip to London, said the tasks for legal ops are the same in Europe, even if the nomenclature varies.

“Legal operations are being done by different people with different titles,” Tully said.
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
Corporate Law 2.0: What It Means to Be a 'Chief Legal Innovation Counsel' | Corporate Counsel
I simplify the way we work and reach better outcomes, whether that means reducing cost or reducing risks, finding more efficiencies and producing better quality and substantive results. Oftentimes, these outcomes can be unlocked or enhanced by harnessing the power of legal tech, and that is certainly a huge element of the role.

I would also add the role of chief legal innovation counsel is an in-house variation of the chief innovation officer role that has started to take root at law firms but is still fairly fresh and new in the in-house world. Part of the role right now is defining the role.

How closely will you work with the legal operations team?

I have a natural synergistic partnership with the legal operations team at Marsh & McLennan.  Think of it as the interplay between operations representing current state—“keeping the lights on,” as they say—and innovation ushering in the future state, like an R&D lab. I remain the subject matter expert on discovery, but I also offer the broader innovation vision: the why, the what, and also elements of the how.

The operations team helps with the how and also does the blocking and tackling, but there is an element of give and take across these generalities, meaning the operations team may be the source of great innovative ideas, and I will roll up my sleeves to get in the weeds.
client  ops  it  process 
may 2018 by JordanFurlong
Zero to Hero: Legal Ops Leaders Discuss How to Start an Operations Program From Scratch | Corporate Counsel
Early successes, he said, will boost credibility and make it easier to implement larger changes later on. Haven noted it’s also important to meet with people in the legal department and elsewhere in the company to see what their needs are, and how legal operations can help address those needs specifically.

Person-to-person connections are also useful, Haven said, because colleagues outside of legal operations can be leveraged to help with new initiatives when the function is just starting out. Over time, the function could grow and bring on more legal ops-specific staff.

“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You need to focus on the fundamentals and grow gradually,” Haven said.

Harmon, who has worked in ops for approximately 15 years, also stressed the importance of starting with the basics. He warned legal ops professionals starting a new team to focus on improving the processes already in place before rushing to install new technology.

“Avoid the temptation, especially early on in your journey, to go in and pitch things that have a dependency on a technology solution,” Harmon said. “I made that mistake early on in my ops career.”

He said it’s more important for legal ops leaders to focus on what cultural issues and process problems are creating inefficiencies at a company first, otherwise the legal team will just continue to make the same mistakes—but with fancier tools.

“In the tool process and cultural trade-off, it’s very seductive to leap immediately to the tools piece, to the technology piece,” he said. But in Harmon’s experience, that’s like buying a treadmill and expecting an entire lifestyle change.

Metrics, data and speaking with in-house lawyers about inefficiencies they’ve seen are a few ways Harmon recommends spotting problem areas. Those metrics matter for change management as well because, he said, they allow the ops function to figure out what’s successful, and to increase credibility around that success throughout the department
may 2018 by JordanFurlong
Anatomy of A Director Of Legal Operations Revealed
Those in the role have been at their company for an average of 6.7 years, often transitioning into the position. The most common stepping-stone to a Director of Legal Operations is a general legal role or General Counsel (54%) or paralegals (10%), while 24% have previously held a role of Director of Legal Operations in a different company or have been promoted from a position of Senior Manager in Legal Operations.

“The Director Of Legal Operations Role can attract annual salaries of $300,000”

The study showed that companies embracing the role, which can attract annual salaries of $300,000, include Fortune 500 firms (making up 21% of the sample), Fortune 1000 businesses (an additional 6% of those analyzed), and top 500 listed UK companies (3%). The majority are headquartered in the US (78%), but companies which have introduced the position are also based in 14 other countries, led by the UK (4%), Canada (3%), Netherlands and Switzerland (both 1.3%).
april 2018 by JordanFurlong
Standardized Legal Security Assessment Should Be Reality, Says CLOC | Legaltech News
With this in mind, CLOC is looking to streamline the process through an ongoing initiative that will ultimately look to provide corporate legal departments with a common set of criteria and methods through which to scrutinize cybersecurity. Tully laid out seven criteria that, from his work both at Gilead and previously at Qualcomm, are necessary in any sort of standardized assessment:

Assessments of all vendors, not just a small subset;
An ongoing thorough assessment process, rather than one time at onboarding;
Auditing vendor responses, not just rely on vendor self-reporting;
A cost-effective solution, without affecting quality of assessment;
The ability to leverage security assessment information at the time of choosing a vendor, i.e., within a matter management or e-billing tool;
Remediation advice and assistance, to help our vendors improve their security posture; and
The ability to benchmark our vendors.
Sound like a lot? Perhaps. Tully noted that when coming up with an initial assessment at Qualcomm that instituted all of these factors, it took him over nine months. But without asking these questions up front, he said, corporate legal departments can’t truly travel the road to security.
cybersecurity  data  standards  ops  clients 
april 2018 by JordanFurlong
Resetting the Process: An inside look at the state of legal operations | In-House Ops
necdotally, I would estimate that most corporations in this industry, 60 percent or so, are at the foundational level in terms of building out their operations function. About 35 percent are at an advanced level. They’ve done some really good things, but they’ve got much room to improve. Only about 5 percent are at what we would consider a mature level, and even those have some significant areas left for improvement.

Brenton: Prior to operations, we had been solutioning in silos, and we have evidence that that doesn’t work. It might look good on paper, but when you go to implement, it just doesn’t work.

On Embracing Technology

Franke: When we look at the CLOC operations maturity model, a lot of companies have implemented or started to implement the basics. But if you look at a competency like dashboards and data analytics, a competency found in somewhat more mature ops functions, we see that this is an area that’s still beyond the grasp of many companies. So, while a percentage of companies may be moving down the path to operational maturity a bit quicker and may be a bit further along, in some cases having adopted a lot of tools and AI, many other companies are still near ground zero. Even a technology like contracts management has only been implemented by maybe 50 percent of corporations, and most don’t have robust implementations with comprehensive processes to support their tool.

Brenton: I think the tech companies have been much more collaborative and willing to share because we’re not regulated and have a culture that is different in terms of sharing information about processes.

On Billing Methods – and Market Forces

Franke: It’s not so much about getting away from the billable hour as it is about what things should cost. When you hire a contractor to do work on your house, they fix their bid based on the different resources that they have to bring to the table – plumbers, electricians – and what that’s going to cost them. There’s an underlying hourly rate there, but they know how many hours it’s going to take to install a new faucet or sink. They don’t try to figure it out for every job.

Law firms, however, start from scratch every time they do an M&A deal or a tech transaction or an employment contract. Good contractors know how to do a remodel and when to use tools rather than manual labor, and they know how to staff a job.

That’s not been the case with law firms. We’re getting away from that – firms are gathering data, figuring out optimal staffing models, determining when to outsource, etc. That allows them to offer AFAs that are win-win.
firms  ops  clients  metrics  data  pricing  process 
february 2018 by JordanFurlong
A Third of CLOs Fired Outside Counsel in 2017, and That Number's Set to Rise | Corporate Counsel
Inside spend allocation rose from 53 percent to 56 percent, since last year’s edition of the survey, part of what Sarwal calls a “continuing trend” toward moving responsibilities in-house.

This trend is paired with another, the rise of more legal operations professionals on staff. This year, 47 percent of respondents reported having legal ops staff versus 43 percent last year. Ten percent of respondents said they planned to add legal ops staff this year.

“We’re at the growth side of that [legal ops] curve,” Sarwal said. “It is so obvious, [the benefits of being] able to have someone focused on the business side of the practice of law, [who is] able to speak the language of finance or tech.”
clients  ops 
february 2018 by JordanFurlong
Legal Ops Leaders Less Afraid of AI, but Many Still Haven't Adopted Tools | Corporate Counsel
“It [AI] is not something to be fearful of. It’s just another software. It will not replace humans,” said Connie Brenton, chief of staff and senior director of legal operations at NetApp Inc. “It’s simply an efficiency tool just like all the other software. It looks [like] magic, but it takes elbow grease to get it running, and exponential investment.”
robo  ops 
february 2018 by JordanFurlong
Practice Innovations Newsletter, July 2017 – Thomson Reuters
The legal market keeps waiting for the Holy Grail that will finally drive real change — change that involves innovation in delivery methods and meaningful value propositions, and in the way legal services are procured. The legal press carries regular articles on many pressing trends in the industry, always looking to identify the one that will matter. An oft-suggested candidate for such trends is that clients have become more sophisticated buyers of legal services. The main point here is that clients are increasing the pressure on law firms, leveraging their buying power to force firms to embrace meaningful change.

In theory this sounds good, but the reality is that in-house legal departments are made up of lawyers who used to work at large law firms themselves. In most circumstances, it has only resulted in rate discount requests. Without more skills in pricing, budgeting, project management, and other leading topics, legal departments have not been well-positioned to drive change. It's not that the lawyers in these roles aren't well intended, it's that they lack the skills and experience to affect change.

Legal departments realized the need for adding those skills, and in recent years expanded their teams by adding new roles. This is putting them in better position to work with outside counsel on change. Of course some legal departments have had roles like these for some time now, but the broader market has only recently embraced this new approach of empowering allied professionals to help legal departments evolve.

Another trend driving the need for these new roles is an increased number of client-side lawyers. The trend of legal departments bringing more work in-house via larger legal teams has been well documented elsewhere. And as clients have bulked up their teams, this has further increased the pressure for more legal operational support. With so many lawyers, legal departments now need to address needs like professional development, knowledge management, practice innovation, etc. This further expands the need for allied professionals with a broader range of skills.

With all of these new legal operations roles and functions, the demands on them have increased, resulting in an obvious need for sharing best practices across in-house legal teams.
ops  clients 
october 2017 by JordanFurlong
The legal department of the future | Deloitte US
Drivers of change
Over the past 10 years, unprecedented disruptions—including the deregulation of the practice of law and advancements in technology—have been changing the face of the legal sector. Rigid silos are being replaced by more fluid structures. And in-house lawyers are becoming business partners, embedded and able to work across units and specializations.

So what will corporate legal look like over the next 10 years? Consider the following potential scenarios in technology, service delivery, and operations.
client  future  ops 
october 2017 by JordanFurlong
CLOC Founder, Connie Brenton, on AI and Legal Sector Change – Artificial Lawyer
his is because since 2008 inhouse teams have ‘been expected to run like a business’ and ‘are expected to have a budget and be efficient just the same as any other department in a company’.

She adds that because GCs are now closer to CEOs and CFOs than ever before they are expected to be more business-focused and this in turn changes the view of how inhouse teams should operate. I.e. they are no longer little islands free from economic reality.

And, naturally, ‘legal ops’ is part of this change, bringing rigour and efficiency to unstructured practices.

‘Lawyers now see that they are behind on these things, now they want to catch up,’ she notes, which certainly seems true for part of the market.

She also points out that inhouse lawyers can handle even complex matters at $100 an hour, less than many US law firms would charge out for their most junior of junior lawyers. And legal ops teams are well aware of this.
september 2017 by JordanFurlong
New Players Driving Value for Legal Departments
egal delivery is  morphing from labour-intensive legal practice delivered exclusively by lawyers/law firms to a tech-and process-enabled model that combines legal, technological, and process and project management expertise.

Law is not simply about lawyers anymore. Technologists, process experts, and other service professionals and paraprofessionals, assisted by technology, leverage legal expertise. Law is track- ing the medical profession’s decades-ago metamorphosis from “medical practice” to the delivery of healthcare services. The business of law is leveraging differentiated legal expertise and skills the same way that healthcare delivery has leveraged differentiated physician skill sets, leaving others to conduct and deliver the “business” of the profession.

It is against this rapidly changing backdrop that corporate counsel are challenged to identify ways to contain spend, mitigate risk, take on ever-increasing responsibility, manage a legal supply chain, defend the enterprise and simultaneously advance its business agenda within established risk parameters and the bounds of the law, and proactively identify—and de- fuse—problems before they result in legal exposure. This is not what they learned at law school or during practice. How do they meet these challenges?
ops  clients 
september 2017 by JordanFurlong
Inside Client's Head: CLOC Institute Programming (022) | Legal Evolution
One relatively large category that I was not expecting to create was Legal Ops Professionalization. Instead, it emerged from the data.  The six sessions in this group focus on legal ops core competencies [click on CLOC figure to the right to enlarge], creating a legal ops function in your company, review of the legal operations maturity model {detailed multi-level model created by CLOC members], and salary negotiations for legal ops professionals.  Session title 62 says it all: “Control Your Destiny: How to Assess and Develop Your Legal Ops Skills.”

History is replete with examples of workers coming together to “professionalize” their craft through the creation of a common language and set of standards. This same process is now fully in motion in the emerging field of legal operations.  Although still a few years away, it will eventually culminate in a system of credentials and certifications to help the market identify and allocate legal operations talent. Such a system helps organizations hire the right person for a very important, high-stakes role.  As a second order effect, it also helps legal ops professionals increase their economic power and influence.

It is my view that legal ops is not, strictly speaking, a career path within legal departments.  Instead, legal operations is field that focuses on systems and controls for managing legal problems and complexity.  Under this broader definition, there are legal ops professionals inside progressive law firms, see Post 021 (categorizing law firms based on innovations in people, process, and technology), and legal managed service providers, see Post 010 (noting how managed service model requires “remarkably tight systems for project management and process improvement”). Although buyers and suppliers of legal inputs will always have slightly different perspectives, their underlying knowledge and skills are on a convergence path.
ops  training  clients 
september 2017 by JordanFurlong
Oracle's Legal Ops Chief Offers Tips on Spend Management
As an example, Coats pointed to the cost savings departments can achieve by focusing on e-billing, where typically "you're going to get the biggest bang for the buck," she said.

"Every time you look at something and you measure it, you should automatically be able to save 10 percent, whether it's 10 percent of the time [or] 10 percent of the total dollar amount," according to Coats. Hypothetically, she said, "if you're spending $100 million in your legal department and your outside counsel is half of that, which typically it usually is 40-60 percent … you should be able to save 10 percent easily." 

She also cited preferred firm consolidation, "where you actually talk to your outside firms and you get that partnership with them," Coats said. "So you actually say, 'I've been looking at the rates, I've been looking at the discounting structure, now how can we be better partners with each other?'"

Coats suggested focusing on accrual automation and matter management as well. On the latter, she said: "Your top vice presidents and your GC want to always have that information at their finger tips, with the status of the matter, how's it going, what's the cost, the budget." Having that rolled into one solution, she said, "just makes everything more efficient for the legal team."

Then there is what Coats called "soft cost savings," such as ensuring there's a focus on diversity, not just for the in-house legal department, but also with outside counsel.

"Diversity brings employee productivity and engagement. You get a diverse talent pool, it also helps with employee retention, and it also helps with our public image and branding," Coats said. "All of these things are good things for the department and [that] makes the department run more efficiently and [makes it] more creative and more innovative and ultimately saves cost."
ops  pricing  clients 
august 2017 by JordanFurlong
What Is Legal Operations - CLOC
Strategic Planning:  Create a long-term strategy, aligning yearly goals and corresponding metrics.
Financial Management:  Manage the departmental budget. Track accruals and forecasting.  Work with Finance to identify spending trends, potential cost savings and efficiency opportunities.
Vendor Management:  Create a vendor management program to insure quality outside counsel support at the right rates and under optimal fee arrangements. Hold regular business reviews.  Negotiate fee agreements.  Drive governance of billing guidelines.
Data Analytics: Collect and analyze relevant data from department tools and industry sources, define objectives to provide metrics and dashboards, that drive efficiencies and optimize spend, etc.
Technology Support:  Create a long-term technology roadmap including tools such as e-billing/matter management, contract management, content management, IP management, business process management, e-signature, board management, compliance management, legal hold, subsidiary management, etc.
Alternative Support Models:  Drive departmental efficiency by leveraging managed services, LPOs, and other service providers.
Knowledge Management: Enable efficiencies by creating seamless access to legal & department institutional knowledge through the organization and centralization of key templates, policies, processes, memos, and other learnings.
Professional Development and Team Building: Deliver improved GC Staff and overall team performance by globalizing the team and creating a culture of growth, development, collaboration and accountability.
Communications:  Work collaboratively across the legal ecosystem to create consistent global processes, from on boarding to complex project management support.  Publish regular departmental communications, plan and execute all-hands.
Global Data Governance / Records Management:  Create a records management program including a record retention schedule, policies and processes.
Litigation Support: Support e-discovery, legal hold, document review.
Cross-Functional Alignment:  Create and drive relationships with other key company functions, such as HR, IT, Finance and Workplace Resources.  Represent the Legal organization at CLOC.
ops  skills  training  future 
july 2017 by JordanFurlong
Corporate Legal Departments Facing More Work & Employing More Cost Controls, Says New Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker Report
The Index report was released today at VANTAGE Orlando, where more than 900 customers gathered for the annual Thomson Reuters’ Legal Tracker and Elite users’ conference.

According to the Index report — which can be downloaded for free below — almost two-thirds (62%) of legal departments report an increase in the number of legal matters they’re working on over the past six months. To handle this increased workload, legal departments are relying on their in-house resources, as well as expanding their use of outside counsel, technology and legal operations personnel.

Interestingly, increasing workloads were not necessarily resulting in higher staff levels. While 52% of legal departments said the percentage of work handled in-house in the last six months has grown, only 28% hired more in-house staff during the same time period.

Outside legal counsel, however, has seen the benefit. Nearly half of legal departments (45%) increased outside counsel spending in the last six months, while only 33% reported a decrease. On average, legal departments engaged 1.6 law firms per $1 million dollars in legal spend.

Using Cost Control Measures

The report separately surveyed 161 legal departments on their use of cost controls, with the following being ranked the most effective:

Seeking auto-reduction of invoice expenses;
Requiring law firm matter budgets;
Setting a fixed or flat fee on matters; and
Obtaining a volume discount.
In addition, the Index showed that legal departments are increasingly turning to legal operations professionals and technology to help improve efficiency. More than half (51%) of legal departments now have dedicated legal operations staff. In addition, 13% of legal departments increased legal operations staff in the last six months, while only 6% decreased staff.
clients  ops  firms 
july 2017 by JordanFurlong
Legal operations – the disruptive ambitions of smooth operators
While the legal operations role is not new — Google hired Mary Shen O’Carroll as its first one in 2008 — it has grown rapidly in importance. “The scope and depth have changed,” says Ms Shen O’Carroll. “I started [by] looking at our spend on outside counsel and financial management. But now the role covers knowledge management and IT, systems, tools and internal process improvement and internal consulting.”

The global headcount of Google’s legal team has grown from 200 when she joined to 1,000, while her own part of it has expanded to 15 staff.

Cloc is led by working legal operations professionals and so functions as a nimble peer-to-peer, knowledge-sharing network. Aine Lyons, deputy general counsel at VMware, who is leading Cloc’s expansion in Europe, says becoming a member when she took on her first operations role was a lifeline.

“The willingness to share is what struck me,” she says. “You send something out and within minutes 30 people will have responded.” Early participation in Cloc’s “book club” days meant Ms Lyons was able to progress quickly. “It enabled me to assess vendors and talk through the challenges others had on similar projects. And then I started being able to contribute.”
june 2017 by JordanFurlong
National | Agents of innovation: The legal ops professional is the new sheriff in legal services town
“General counsel do not have the training, skill sets, or time to manage complex organizations and perform the other tasks charged to them,” says professor, author and legal future evangelist Kenneth Grady.

“The legal op brings new levels of experience, skills, training, and discipline to law organizations and their relationships with outside service providers. They do more than handle administrative tasks, like making sure the bills get paid on time. They are leaders in the law organizations. They have significant responsibilities.”

Consider what’s happening at Google. Mary O’Carroll, head of legal operations, has seen her department grow by more than ten-fold since 2008. Driven by maximizing value for their departments, clients are looking for quality, speed and price more than ever and asking themselves: Who should perform the work – lawyers or legal business professionals? Inside or external counsel? A law firm or alternative service provider?
june 2017 by JordanFurlong
3 Geeks and a Law Blog: Why Now? The Rise of Alternative Legal Service Providers
Today, corporate law departments still use the transaction view for supply chain structure. They do not build competitive advantages, just temporary cost benefits. Law firms do not invest, because they have no incentives to do so. The transaction view drives low innovation, higher cost for the buyer, and higher revenue for the supplier.
Back To Managed Services

I'm going to do something ill-advised and disagree with Ken, slightly. Everything Ken wrote is gospel. If law departments treat ALSPs (or in-house teams) as lower cost substitutes for traditional law firms, they will encounter most of the same issues that engender their dissatisfaction with traditional law firms—and, likely, additional issues since the ALSPs are not designed to fill the law-firm role. My section above on failed attempts at managed services confirms that I've seen that movie more than once.

But I think there are material differences that favor ALSPs in the medium term. The obvious ones are that ALSP's value proposition, culture, and corporate structure make them more cost-effective, flexible, and willing partners than most (all?) traditional law firms. In this regard, I cannot recommend enough Bill Henderson's latest ABA Journal cover story on managed services.

I want to emphasize, however, the less obvious (but, possibly, more important) underlying shift in mindset in that law departments are more inclined (it isn't automatic) to take the relational view with ALSPs.
ops  process  workflow  clients  firms 
june 2017 by JordanFurlong
CLOC Legal Operations Career Skills Toolkit: Lawyers, Your Clients Value Legal-Service Delivery Skills | LegalTech Lever
CLOC divides legal-operations skills into IQ (“hard”) skills and EQ (“soft”) skills:

IQ Skills

Business Operations
Data, Analysis & Reporting
Knowledge & Content
Outside Counsel
Process & Project
Substantive Law
Talent & People
EQ Skills

Project Management
For each skill, CLOC provides links to five “reading” and five “education” resources—180 skill-building resources.

In an industry sorely lacking in best practices and standards, CLOC aims to build community and drive positive change to help legal industry players optimize legal-service delivery models. All law students, lawyers, and legal-services professionals can learn a lot from the CLOC toolkit and the skill-building resources it identifies. Download the CLOC toolkit, assess your current skills, and start using the resources to improve your legal-service delivery skills today!
ops  client  skills  training 
may 2017 by JordanFurlong
3 Geeks and a Law Blog: Build or Buy? The Evolution of Law Department Sourcing
Just as many are calling on firms to radically change their paradigms, it seems the in-house departments are also looking to shift the paradigm. We see this in some small ways, with bold statements from in-house departments wanting firms to increase diversity. In-house departments can do more to change the archetype, but whereas firms have to deal with the complexity of the partnership models, in-house teams face obstacles around C-Suite buy-in, and personal reputation. 
clients  ops 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
Corporate Legal's Metrics Mandate: Create Your Own KPIs, or Others Will | Legaltech News
"You are being measured, whether you know it or not," explained Craig. "So why don't you put your hands on the rudders? Why not take the initiative and steer how you're going to get measured, and actually have influence over that, instead of just waiting for the business to decide how you get measured? Help educate them and be educated about the business needs, then you can control or influence how you are being measured."
Creation Station: Putting Together KPIs
Creating KPIs in a legal department pivots largely on how the department implements information governance procedures, such as properly classifying data. But implementing these procedures, Craig noted, is not a quick or automated task.
ops  metrics  kpi  clients 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
The Corporate Blockchain Groups Defining the Future of Legal Ops | Legaltech News
But perhaps most important of these for in-house counsel are recently launched blockchain trade association groups. These groups aim to prepare corporate teams for the technology's inevitable arrival and seek to define how blockchain technology will be regulated and standardized in the future.
For counsel, such groups offer a place to learn about blockchain solutions and understand how they will likely materialize in their daily workflows and offices.
Here is a look at several groups that are leading the way in corporate blockchain development:
Educating Finance Counsel: The Wall Street Blockchain Alliance
With deep pockets and a constant need to stay ahead of the curve, financial services companies are the most fertile ground for blockchain innovation. But the finance industry isn't taking that for granted.
For example, the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, a nonprofit trade association launched in June 2015, is aiming to spur blockchain development and adoption across the sector and inform those in finance companies, including counsel, on the technology and its benefits.
Ron Quaranta, chairman of the alliance, told Legaltech News that over the past year-and-a-half "every major bank, every major financial services firm, has been engaged in either some level of investment in blockchain startups or in some level of internal investment with their in-house innovation groups, focusing on leveraging blockchain technologies across different segments of their business." Quaranta expects that 2017 will be the year where blockchain pilot projects will start to go into production.
ops  blockchain  client 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
The Corporate Blockchain Groups Defining the Future of Legal Ops | Legaltech News
For counsel, blockchain trade association groups offer a place to learn about the technology and take part in defining its future.
blockchain  roboclients  ops 
march 2017 by JordanFurlong
BREAKING OUT OF THE SILO | Stephanie Corey | Pulse | LinkedIn
“We need to think about how we, as an industry (the corporate legal services ‘CLS’ industry), create and support the right business models and behaviors, regulations, technology platforms, etc., to optimize all key elements. Law departments don’t operate and can’t optimize in a vacuum.” Law department operations professionals are tasked with complex responsibilities that include strategic planning, financial management, vendor management, data analytics, tech support and knowledge management. With that as the backdrop, Franke enumerates some of the most significant challenges for legal operations, including having a solid understanding of the different types of services provided by law firms and what those should cost. “The billable hour will never die if we—and the firms we use— don’t leverage LPM (law practice management) and other tools to come up with fixed fees for broad sets of services so that we get robust competition for legal work in the corporate legal services market,” says Franke.
ops  clients  it  process 
march 2017 by JordanFurlong
Legal Operations - What We Know Now | Ron Friedmann | Pulse | LinkedIn
Legal business operations, especially in corporate law departments, is on the rise. Lawyers in both law firms and law departments require an array of business and administrative support. That support makes a huge difference to legal cost, effectiveness, quality, and turnaround times. Yet operations receives less media coverage than, say, AI or law firm firm mergers.

I have long thought about legal operations and how best to support lawyers with both legal and business support. For example, that's why I wrote The Future of Legal Secretaries (Legal Times) 14 years ago and went to work for a legal outsourcing provider (LPO) 10 years ago.

I was pleased that 2016 saw three reports on legal and business support operations. I summarize some key points and offer a bit of commentary on three reports that I found interesting. I close with a short view of where I see the 2017 opportunities.
ops  clients  process  outsourcing 
january 2017 by JordanFurlong
At Law Firms, Procurement Seeks to Become Internal Counsel :: My Purchasing Center
“The legal sector is a bit of a laggard, but we see a trend especially among larger firms towards more centralized procurement,” Lee Garbowitz, a Managing Director for the Global Strategic Sourcing & Business Operations Practice at HBR Consulting, tells My Purchasing Center. 
“One reason is that law firms need to be more cost conscious,” he says. “They need to make changes that move procurement from being a cost center to more of a profit center.
“Second, law firms have been challenged by their clients to understand the risks present within their supply base and mitigate that risk as much as possible,” Garbowitz says. “Law firms deal with sensitive information and they need an individual group responsible for managing third-party risk.” 
A new survey of procurement leaders at law firms by HBR Consulting finds 80% have been asked by a client to provide documentation of their formal third-party risk management policy. Survey results also show that just 30% of law firms have a formal policy. Fifty-five percent say they are working to develop one. 
procurement  clients  firms  ops 
january 2017 by JordanFurlong
Joining Other Firms, Bryan Cave Asks Tech Team to Start Billing | The American Lawyer
Bryan Cave on Thursday launched a new consulting service staffed by data pros and software programmers who solve law department operational problems, becoming the latest firm to transition an existing team of internal professionals into a standalone, client-facing service.
Branded BCXponent, the new Bryan Cave initiative is a formal marketing effort designed around an existing 31-person team at the St. Louis-based firm that includes data analysts, software programmers and project management pros. The team has already helped legal departments develop software tools that help manage contracts, track legal spending or conduct and manage RFPs to hire law firms.
BCXponent joins a list that includes SeyfarthLean Consulting, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz's LegalShift and Davis Wright Tremaine's DWT DeNovo, all of which began as inward-focused groups that eventually shifted to offer its services directly to clients, including those the firm's lawyers don't serve.
"What's happening in law firms is they create a team going after knowledge management, legal process management or data analytics, and they start off there to support the lawyer and enhance the service for the client," said Andrew Baker, a consultant at Janders Dean and former head of Seyfarth Shaw's technology team. "But gravity is pulling them more towards the buyer, and these players are becoming stars of the show to a certain extent."
The shift shows that investing in nonlawyer talents can not only augment a law firm's legal services, but also potentially lead to a new line of business. The simple premise is that law departments face problems that lawyers alone cannot solve.
innovation  ops  client  firmd 
january 2017 by JordanFurlong
The 'Legal Ops' Trend Is Real, Survey Finds
"In-house teams are still dealing with the larger market changes that occurred following the 2008 global economic meltdown, and the survey uncovered how some in-house leaders are adjusting to these shifts: hiring legal department operations professionals," Mark Haddad, vice president of the corporate segment for Thomson Reuters, said in a statement. "General counsel indicated a strong need to work more strategically, and bringing in LDO professionals to concentrate on business operations allows corporate counsel to focus on legal work and be more proactive and strategic in how they advise the business."

In addition to LDOs, legal departments are also implementing new technologies to improve efficiency. According to the report, 56 percent of respondents said "implementing document/knowledge management technology" is a key initiative or will be within the year. What's more, 53 percent are currently "migrating to electronic document storage," while another 19 percent intend to do so within the next year.
ops  client 
november 2016 by JordanFurlong
Rethinking the Legal Ops Model: A Flight Plan for the Future | Business of Law Blog
Manual Processes. This represents the lowest level on the spectrum and generally indicates a legal department has only the most basic levels of efficiency in place.
Deployed Technology. This level indicates that the legal department has some technology systems in place such as standard reporting, billing guidelines, matter journals and documents and an RFP processes.
Integrated Information. The legal department has some more sophisticated levels of efficiency in place such as: legal dashboards, matter calendars, comprehensive matter visibility and aggregated budgets for example.
Data Driven Decisions. The legal department is on its way to reaching full maturity and indicates the legal department has some of the following key efficiencies in place: analytics, standard key performance indicators (KPIs), matter project plans, variance analytics and law department scorecards.
Predictive Results. At this, the full maturity stage, corporate legal teams typically have the following efficiencies in place: scenario modeling, real-time alerts, collaborative decisions, data-driven forecasts, law firm optimization and win-win
client  ops 
october 2016 by JordanFurlong
5 Reasons Why Legal Ops Rules | Corporate Counsel
With an increased focus on legal operations, legal departments can become leaner and more productive to better demonstrate their value to the company. By prioritizing efficiency, helping strategize on outside counsel and bringing analytics and new technologies into the fold, legal operations is boosting employee morale and proving integral to in-house law departments at a time when resources are particularly scarce.
ops  client 
september 2016 by JordanFurlong
Collaborate or Perish?
Not long ago, law firms handled all aspects of a matter. Now, there is a supply chain. Integrating suppliers in an efficient, cost-effective, and risk mitigating manner is the challenge– and opportunity. Clever buyers and suppliers of legal services collaborate to achieve efficiency, cost reduction, scalability, risk mitigation, and compressed timeframes for completing tasks and concluding matters.
ops  collaboration  firms  workflow 
august 2016 by JordanFurlong
The Future of Corporate Legal Operations is Now | Legaltech News
He noted that "more and more GCs are beginning to get it," and the numbers certainly bear out his argument. The ACC, he explained, has seen membership in its legal operations department grow by 30 percent within the past year alone.
Through harnessing these new and increasing analytics resources developed by a new wave in legal ops personnel, DHL's legal department was able to overhaul its outside counsel hiring process. In 2009, the department worked with 348 law firms; today, it works with 19.
DHL's legal department rates each law firm on seven key data points, including whether the firm understands DHL's objectives, has expertise in the subject matter, is responsive, and strives for efficiency. Each of these points is rated from 1 (does not meet expectations) to 5 (far exceeds expectations), and any firm that averages below a 3 is flagged.
ops  clients 
july 2016 by JordanFurlong
Analytics 2.0: Law Department Leaders Explain Integrating Data Into Their Practices | Legaltech News
"What we found is that we got a lot good information. … The data was good enough that we really have been able to run quite cleanly" with no correction, Perry said.
She also explained that the undertaking revealed some other, previously unknown, information about streamlining efficiency. In one example, one contracting manager found people were spending a lot of time on low value transactions, allowing the department to shift priorities.
"The majority of legal departments have had budget pressures" over time despite rising legal matter cost, she later added. "Analytics were important for us to understand where we could become more efficient."
ops  clients 
july 2016 by JordanFurlong
Akerman - Event - Jeffrey Sharer to Speak on Self-Service Compliance
Jeffrey Sharer will participate on a panel titled, "Self-Service Compliance, Preventive Law & Outside Counsel: A New Model" as part of the 2nd Annual ACC Legal Operations Conference. Panelists will discuss the balancing act facing companies to create self-service compliance applications that will keep costs down and clients happy. They will also address how these applications can use drill-down techniques to answer the "easy" questions, and know when to bring in outside counsel for advice, resulting in improved business relations.
preventive  compliance  ops 
june 2016 by JordanFurlong
Unlikely Legal Tech Allies Come Together to Standardize Legal Operations | Legaltech News
With that as the backdrop, Franke enumerates some of the most significant challenges for legal operations, including having a solid understanding of the different types of services provided by law firms and what those should cost.
"The billable hour will never die if we—and the firms we use—don't leverage LPM (law practice management) and other tools to come up with fixed fees for broad sets of services so that we get robust competition for legal work in the corporate legal services market," says Franke.
Another challenge is getting in-house lawyers to expand the set of firms they use beyond the usual suspects, he adds.
"Right now, there's a mismatch between supply and demand that's allowing for abnormal price increases and overall cost. LSOs (legal services outsourcing), technology companies, and other corporate legal ecosystem players are helping drive work to the right level of quality, and the right price, but there's a long way to go," Franke explains.
ops  it  process  clients 
june 2016 by JordanFurlong
A Call for Legal Ops to Ditch the Silos and Share | Corporate Counsel
But Legal Operations is still a fairly nascent profession and role. I’ve been at this for Google for many years now. I’ve grown my team tremendously, established a robust outside counsel and financial management practice, launched countless tools and systems, and rehauled internal processes. I’m proud to say that we’ve been named the Most Innovative Legal Department many times over by ILTA, the Financial Times, InsideCounsel magazine and more. I’m ready to turn the lens externally and see how we can influence the future of the industry, and not just our department.
ops  process  clients 
may 2016 by JordanFurlong
The Newest Faces in Many Corporate Legal Departments Aren’t Practicing Lawyers | Big Law Business
After one of Yahoo’s outside law firms sent a bill last year that included a noticeable, unannounced rate increase, Jeffrey Franke — the chief of staff to the general counsel and senior director of legal operations — felt compelled to drive up the coast to San Francisco for a face-to-face visit with the lead lawyer.
ops  clients  process  innovation 
may 2016 by JordanFurlong
The New and Evolving Legal Department Operations Role | Business of Law Blog
As demands in the legal industry have changed, such as those surrounding eDiscovery and financial controls, the influence and requirements from LDO leaders has also evolved. In addition to the responsibilities described above, legal operations now also encompasses more strategic areas, including:
Defining objectives, levers, KPIs, and measuring for success
Opportunity spotting and ROI measurements
Information Governance and Compliance management
Facilitating globalization efforts
Additionally, as more attorneys move into LDO positions, responsibilities that fall into the gray area between business management and practicing law are being pushed into legal operations. Examples of these functions include:
Managing the eDiscovery function
Managing Records Management
Facilitating IP maintenance
ops  process  clients 
april 2016 by JordanFurlong
The Rise of In-House Legal Operations | Big Law Business
A decade or so ago, almost nobody would have looked at legal operations (or law department management) as a hot career path. In fact, a lot of people in the law business would likely have struggled to come up with a good description of what legal operations managers actually do.
ops  clients  process  innovation 
april 2016 by JordanFurlong
Hope Springs Eternal: Legal Operations Effecting Change | Lumen Legal
Each year, spring training opens up a new sense of hope and optimism in every baseball city in America. This year could be the year. I’m certainly among those people feeling hope for their team.
march 2016 by JordanFurlong
Can Legal Ops Overcome the Persistence of the Billable Hour? | Big Law Business
This observation goes to the crux of the industry’s problem.  To arrive at a clear articulation of what qualifies as a win, each company must develop clarity about its business objectives as well as the cross-functional collaboration to translate those business objectives into law department targets.

Quantifying such targets into functional metrics on legal outcomes is a challenge that must be addressed on a per-organization basis. Because there is no easy one-size-fits-all solution for measurement, it means that the industry as a whole will mature more slowly than disruption rhetoric would have us believe.

As a general proposition, we are not an industry prepared to take a leap into the unknown. As we develop the data models to support better analysis, however, the movement away from traditional pricing models will become considerably less risky. Over time, the pace of adoption will quicken.  In the meantime, we wait for both law firms and law departments to reach the tipping point.

On the bright side, the survey indicates that legal ops professionals are hard at work building foundational capabilities in data analytics and data mining.  More than half of the respondents reported having a formalized metrics program (up from 34.4 percent in the prior year).  Of even more interest, the survey reported on a number of companies (specifically noted were Ford Motor and Lincoln Financial) beginning to develop metrics around law firm performance in delivering case outcomes and utilizing data modeling to measure the performance of the legal supply chain. As these models mature and as law departments become increasingly sophisticated in the use of emerging technologies, the ability of the legal operations function to effectively measure and evaluate change will only improve.
ops  metrics  value  clients  pricing 
december 2015 by JordanFurlong

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