2020 CLOC Institute Recap: 100% Online Legal Conference Engages and Challenges Attendees Like Never Before

by | Dec 9, 2020

Created and nurtured by legal operations professionals, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), drives positive innovation and change in the industry. Not to be undone by the current pandemic, this year’s CLOC Institute took place online: A fully virtual, collaborative event that took all of the deep learning, important networking, and knowledge-sharing to the digital space.

As Diamond Sponsors of this year’s CLOC conference, LexisNexis® CounselLink® is again proud to support and attend the CLOC Institute because we believe bringing innovation to your legal department starts with sharing peer-to-peer industry knowledge.

Mary O’Carroll, President of CLOC, kicked off the conference with some big news by CLOC itself: The organization is throwing its doors wide to include membership for service providers, tech companies, law schools, and others.

“People have been asking for this for years and so I’m thrilled to be able to welcome them here very soon,” she said.

Transformation & Change

With professionals working from home, we’ve all had to adjust how we conduct work and manage the workday and learn new communication tools to engage with peers and clients. During the CounselLink session, Kiran Mallavarapu, Senior VP and Manager of Legal Strategic Services at Liberty Mutual Insurance shared his goals: “People are utilizing existing technology but are having to use it differently … while also learning new technology. Raising the technology efficiency level among our employees is a critical goal for us in 2021.”

As workload demands increase, legal departments are prioritizing their activities to align with company strategy.

David Wilkins, Professor at Harvard Law, presented “From Disruptive Innovation to Pervasive Technology” that pointed to how, just seven months ago, lawyers wouldn’t have thought they’d be living life on Zoom. Many lawyers strongly agreed that they continue to provide excellent client service but the struggle is building community and collaboration online.

Collaboration & Outreach

According to an Acritas survey, 58% of GCs report an increase in work but only 6% anticipate increased resources, with 19% reporting an imbalance is expected. The increase in demand on in-house counsel and staff requires greater coordination and collaboration.

“Being a non-profit health system, our budget has been really impacted by COVID. In addition to revamping and automating our processes … Communication and strong relationships have been key in obtaining support and concessions from our legal partners.” – Jenita Gillespie, Director of Legal Operations at non-profit hospital Bon Secours Mercy Health

Work/Life Balance

Now that people are working at home, they sleep where they work. These blurred lines between home and professional responsibilities are causing issues with work/life balance. As a top challenge facing legal departments, there is great concern about the health of employees—mental health and burn-out—particularly in younger and new employees. Programs such as “No Friday Meetings,” mandated PTO, and informal check-in calls are implemented at a team level to support employees.

Interoperability & Scalability

Digital maturity has arrived. But users don’t want to sign into a dozen applications to get their work done. The multitude of applications and tools is becoming overwhelming. Throughout the sessions, panelists discussed the need for better interoperability, with the challenge of creating a legal ecosystem that supports the integration of business and legal apps.

Electronic Arts (EA) Senior Manager Yuka Tzavaras commented: “Integration is all about reducing redundancy and eliminating manual effort.” Critical priorities are not only for legal but for the business. To drive productivity and service quality, interoperability must be at the forefront of technology vendors and users.

Diversity & Inclusion

Throughout the day, there was discussion about the need for programs that develop diversity and inclusion in the legal industry. Businesses are implementing initiatives into their strategic plans, and the keys to a successful D&I program include data and measurement.

The innovative internship program at Bon Secours Mercy Health was highlighted for its successful targeted engagement with women and minority students at typically under-represented colleges. The legal department student internships often turn into job opportunities with the hospital’s law firm vendors.

Noteworthy Sessions

Executing 2021 Planning in a Shifting Economy

Hosted by CounselLink’s own Kris Satkunas, this session engaged an interactive audience about D&I programs, how work demands that we examine current processes, data, and technology, and how strong relationships are key to managing outside counsel spend with budget pressure increasing in 2021.

Meet the Change Markets: Legal Disruptions as an Opportunity

Leaders at EY, VMWare, Netflix, and more discussed how 2020 has disrupted the legal world. Key takeaways include how the huge increase in demand for legal services has created a greater need for coordination and collaboration. The session revealed how the legal landscape needs more standardization, automation, data analytics, and process improvement overall, with law firms learning to scale business and act quickly.

Effectively Manage Your Legal Requests: An Intake & Self-Service Tools Roundtable

This session shared the top-three features for choosing work management software: how to connect and integrate systems, configuring workflow systems without IT or vendor support (no-code option), and how it’s important for work management software to be easy to use, for business units in particular.

General Counsel Panel Discussion: From Global Pandemic to Inspiring Innovation

A powerhouse of GC facilitators at Intel, Coke, Microsoft, and easyJet shared their experience and insight on the future of legal, with accelerated digital transformation, getting employees “upskilled” with tech efficiency, and partnering with the business to achieve better outcomes for society.

Measuring Success through Data & Dashboards

Cisco shared their methodology for creating the right metrics, including projected value for the business. Takeaways included embedded metrics into tool development and what data is telling us about success and driving behaviors that lead to goals.

There was so much information and insight packed into a single day’s worth of panels and sessions. Did you “attend” this year? What did you find to be the most useful or interesting presentation? Tweet us @LexisNexisLegal or reach out via email; we’d love to hear from you.

You still have time to sign up for the on-demand CLOC 2020 sessions, until January 10, 2021, here.

Elizabeth Grotzke
Elizabeth Grotzke

Elizabeth Grotzke is the marketing manager for CounselLink at LexisNexis Legal & Professional. As an experienced marketer with 10 years working in enterprise software, she is dedicated to creating meaningful brand experiences. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Rhode Island. Having grown up on the Cape, she is an avid beach goer and Cape Cod Potato Chip enthusiast.