Your Legal Department Is a Powerhouse.
After two years of virtual conferences, the 2022 CLOC Global Institute annual conference showcased the liveliness and energy of its members and the legal ops profession. With over 2,000 attendees, the three-day event sparked conversation, education, and participation.
We hope that our time together was just the beginning of new conversations, ideas, and solutions to improve legal operations.
Attended by new-to-legal-ops professionals for a deep-dive session that covered essential skills and the CLOC Core-12 domain. The three-hour workshop ensured that participants received quality training on the foundation of legal ops for brand-new legal ops employees.
- Carl Morrison, Director of Legal Ops from The Cosmopolitan, encouraged new legal ops professionals to use AFAs, such as Fixed Fee, Cap, and Success Fee.
- The audience was encouraged to automate frequent tasks and create playbooks for users to self-serve. Have one central email address or intake tool, like the Legal Services Request tool of LexisNexis® CounselLink®. And to have a new employee onboarding checklist and 30-/60-/90-day onboarding plan using an automated workflow. (CounselLink provides broad onboarding and training support with dedicated teams to ensure customers are up and running quickly, efficiently, and successfully.)
- Have a knowledge-sharing space and do an annual continued learning campaign (“micro learning” or legal ops 101 series).
There has been much talk about diversity during the last few years. But without first focusing on equity and inclusion, the industry is not going to be successful in achieving diversity within law firms. What actions are law firms and their customers taking to really affect equity and inclusion? The presenters shared compelling law firm metrics gathered by CounselLink that are leading and/or lagging indicators of all three components of the DE&I equation.
Audience participation in the session was great. It was so great that we weren’t able to get to all of the audience questions. So we’ve taken the time to gather answers for some of those questions.
Q1: Are there enough under-represented legal professionals in the pipeline through the law schools? What can we do to improve this pipeline in schools or colleges?
Recent data from the ABA shows that ~50% of law school graduates are women and ~25% are minorities. The pipeline coming out of law school is diverse. One of the things that the panelists in the session emphasized is the value in partnering with law schools (and earlier levels of education) to get students interested in the law, and to encourage interest in areas of the law where lawyers are not traditionally diverse.
Q2: Who will pay for teaming up an experienced lawyer with a younger lawyer? Firm or client? Or both?
Law firms and legal departments need to partner together to change the legal industry’s diversity results. Two of the panelists referenced internships where a law student will be splitting time between a firm and the corporation. In both of these instances, the cost is being shared by the firm and the corporation. The panel believes the same is true for introducing younger, under-represented lawyers to client relationships. GCs need to be willing to invest in the development of this talent.
Q3: Any stats on where diverse attorneys leaving law firms are going? Other firms? Clients?
We’re not aware of any aggregate statistics breaking down firm attrition. However, the law firm panelist in our session stated that they collect and monitor this information to have a better understanding of attrition. Bad attrition is when a lawyer leaves the firm because they felt under-valued. We suggest having discussions with your key firms to ask them for more information about under-represented lawyer attrition.
Q4: For those firms that may be small and do not have a diverse workforce, do you discuss succession planning to improve diversity.
Yes, firms that are small and less diverse should be planning for the future, and this is a very appropriate discussion to have with firms that are important to your organization’s success. Small firms and/or firms that are in locations where the population is less diverse can also take other steps to show their commitment to DE&I. One of the panelists referenced firms that are engaged in their community’s schools as an example.
Q5: Thoughts on tracking diversity as percentage of hours worked vs headcount of timekeepers?
CounselLink customers who ask firms to populate timekeeper-level diversity data on their attorney profiles have the benefit of being able to track diversity both of these ways. We believe that tracking the percentage of hours worked by under-represented lawyers is a better metric. We also encourage customers to analyze this data by matter type and task to understand which lawyers are being given opportunities to challenge themselves and grow.
For more information on how CounselLink can support your diversity initiatives, go to https://software.lexisnexis.com/CounselLink-DEI.
Helpful resources to keep the insights coming and to continue the conversation
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About LexisNexis® CounselLink®
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