Returning to the CLOC Global Institute after a three-year hiatus, I had the chance to listen to several in-depth presentations and panel discussions at the World’s Foremost Legal Operations Event, where growth, change and innovation led the way.
Here are five power packed wins from the 2022 CLOC Global Institute:
1. Legal Operations is (still) in flux
There’s wide admission from the community — veteran and new Legal OPs professional alike — that Legal OPs is a buzzword starting to evolve into a strong pillar of support for all law departments. It still does not have a singular meaning or set of responsibilities across the industry. But this is to be taken as a sign of recognition about the disparate level of organizational maturity underlined by these key themes from multiple panels over the past three days:
- General Counsels are more engaged and ready to understand what Legal OPs should mean for their own organization (i.e. strategy development), its focus areas and alignment with business needs.
- The trend for Legal OPs adoption has moved much beyond Fortune 1000 organizations over the last 2 years. Large numbers of new Legal OPs professionals have been hired within Fortune 1000 companies with some admitting to a Legal OPs team of 20 plus. More importantly, medium scale industries and companies (and some even with a legal team of <10) have aggressively made recent Legal OPs appointments.
- There is noticeable global presence from Europe and APAC companies looking to borrow and integrate all facets of Legal OPs across their global centers.
2. CLM is in vogue
Attendees should be forgiven for feeling CLOC to mean ‘Contract Lifecycle Operations Consortium’. The legal tech industry goes through phases of new forms of technology adoption and this seems to be CLM’s moment, given the focus on contract lifecycle and analytics platforms.
At this event in 2018, — in sharing my experiences on how to navigate the congested CLM & contract analytics market — I had predicted (guesstimated) the number of CLM provided to increase, much to the audience’s dismay. I felt validated when I walked through the exhibit area and noticed the count of contract technology suppliers had increased from 16 vendors in 2018 to 25 this year. A number of Legal OPs professionals are focused on implementing or upgrading their CLMs and it looks like the market is listening.
3. Recognition for ‘legal project management’ skills
A number of panels tapped into the growing need for legal project management resources. Companies are struggling to hire and lure experienced project managers to provide end to end Legal OPs service support. Large organizations have resorted to selectively outsourcing these functions instead of hiring internally.
4. More kids on the block
A growing number of law firms and Big 4 firms are investing in building capabilities for Legal OPs consulting, transformation and technology implementation. Most GCs continue to demand their law firms take notice and learn from ALSPs to offer technology-enabled legal services with cost-efficiency. We should expect more law firms expanding into this arena.
5. People, Process and Technology Mantra
It was pleasing to hear a few panellists caution the audience with the ‘PPT’ mantra and not jump in feet first on the legal technology bandwagon. It can be easy to be besotted with tech platforms and well-planted dashboards demos. It was a wise and timely reminder to consider change management, adoption techniques and each organization’s culture and appetite at the onset of legal tech selection and purchase.