Legal operations is a matter on the rise in the legal industry. A Chief Legal Operations Officer (CLOO) deals with everything but law in a corporate legal department. It is a multidiscliplinary job that entails dealing with budgets, data, technology, human resources and many other fields.
Anyone who has worked in a corporate legal department knows it. If lawyers only focused on law it would be paradise. But so many other things keep lawyers from law: communication, hiring, implementing new tools… CLOOs are here to make sure all these tasks get done. And improve legal processes to make them more productive and cost-efficient.
“If lawyers only focused on law it would be paradise, but so many other things keep lawyers from law.”
CLOOs must know that their work can be unconventional and will involve implementing new technologies. Indeed, CLOOs often have a legal background, but their new job will not be about law: it will be about helping lawyers get their jobs done, by undertaking non-law related jobs that, before CLOO positions, fell under their scope but was keeping them from doing higher value added tasks.
Legal Ops are a productivity revolution to come to a legal departement and a bridge between lawyers and efficiency. Legal departments are more and more urged to do more with less and to increase their efficiency. This shift is only made possible thanks to organizational shifts. Because lawyers don’t have time to test and implement new processes, new ways to deal with external counsel, new tools… CLOOs make this possible.
At Unilever, the Legal Operations Officer arrived with the aim to “make the legal team ‘world class’ in everything we do“. This is a role which implied to rethinking the continuous training of lawyers, optimize the external costs and of course leverage on technology. The CLOO’s position described in this article is also very much implied in the course of the legal activities and designed a better way to manage the Contract Life Cycle.
This interview of Christine Coats, Vice President of Legal Operations at Oracle Corporation, state another way to manage the Legal Operations. With a deep focus on the necessity for the lawyers to become involved as project managers, this article is a gold mine when it comes to actionable recommendations on how to better manage the legal operations.
CLOOs are getting organized in a non-profit organization called Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC). This organization allows the Legal Operations professional to talk together and find solutions to problems they encounter or have encountered in their newly established position. The strong footprint and the voice of CLOC is a key factor in the rise of the Legal Operations roles, for the greater good of the lawyers!
At Day One, we strongly believe that the Legal Operations organization is a game changer that shall help legal department being aligned with their companies’goals. No matter the size of the legal department, there is always a part of non-legal matters that has to be done within the department. This is why we are managing externalized Legal Operations functions for our clients. For some clients we provide a dedicated resource within the company. For other clients, we manage part of their Legal Operations like: the budget, the law firm panel review, the tools selection…