This year’s Corporate Legal Operations Institute (CLOC) was hailed as the largest global gathering of corporate legal professionals. The CLOC 2018 conference offered many opportunities for long-time industry pros and newcomers to the field to network, share, and learn. The conference provided valuable tools for development, best practices, and technology adoption of legal operations departments. The CounselLink® team gained three valuable insights from CLOC 2018 for helping corporate legal departments become an indispensable resource to their organizations:
From Startup to Mature Legal Ops
One of the overriding themes of this year’s conference was the importance of strategic planning. Developing a comprehensive strategy is a must for startups, and this plan can serve as a foundation for even well-established departments. One important aspect to consider when developing your plan is stakeholder feedback. From the very beginning, encouraging staff and vendors to share their ideas and expectations via consistent surveying was encouraged. This information can be used to build a solid strategic plan that will help your legal department to establish itself as a key player for many years to come.
As your legal department matures, it is vital to keep employees engaged through consistent training and employee development. From day one, it is important for legal departments to pick their battles, invest wisely, and resist the urge to stray from the strategic plan when the going gets tough. Though a strategic plan may need periodic review and revision, it can serve as the roadmap to successful growth.
Building Operational Excellence
While discussing the importance of operational excellence, the value of strategic planning and employee engagement remained a consistent theme. When developing a strategy for change, start by building out a three-year plan that addresses funding for initiatives and demonstrating the value of your department to your business.
The lead change agent in a legal department is often the legal operations director, who must have a mandate from the general counsel for change to truly be effective. Consistent change and engagement is vital for developing operational excellence. Change agents and positive influencers should be supported, rewarded, and encouraged to continue their efforts to make the department excel.
Getting results from the law firms that you work with can be an obstacle to achieving the operational goals. Even legal departments that share generously with outside counsel struggle to get the data that they need in return. One best practice involves using a “carrot and stick” approach along with sharing the use and value of the metrics that you’re attempting to obtain.
As technology advances, it can be difficult for legal departments to keep up. The most successful legal departments are embracing emerging technology, which is helping them to gain insights and demonstrate their value to their business. Preparing for the rollout of new technology should be a topic addressed in a strategic plan.
As a leader in legal operations solutions, CounselLink consistently stays on top of trends and developments. We are honored to be a key developer of the technology that supports the change-makers across the corporate legal operations world. CounselLink is helping corporate legal departments to achieve maximum operational efficiency. Reach out to our experts to learn more about CounselLink and how we can help you control legal spend, manage risk, and provide unparalleled operational excellence that advances your performance.
Aaron Pierce is the Vice President and General Manager of the CounselLink business. With over 20 years of technology leadership experience, and over 10 years in the legal software space, Aaron is passionate about helping legal professionals achieve greater outcomes through data-driven decisions. This role is Aaron’s second with the CounselLink business, having led the account management team from 2008 — 2011. Prior to re-joining CounselLink in 2016, Aaron worked in several strategy and product management roles within LexisNexis, including eDiscovery and insurance. Prior to LexisNexis, Aaron spent 12 years guiding an Internet technology company in California from start-up to maturity.