Legal Operations is a growing domain [allowing] corporate legal departments to work more efficiently; as workloads increase, costs should be reduced.
According to a CLOC article, the focus of legal operations (legal ops) has changed and grown in the past decade to become an “integrated, trusted business partner to the entire organization by identifying opportunities for automated processes and strategically using service providers to drive efficiency” today. Legal operations’ goals haven’t changed – they’ve become more precise and targeted.
An ACC CLO survey found that 61% of legal departments have at least one legal ops expert on board, and this number is increasing steadily as legal ops continues to prove its usefulness.
Leveraging Legal Ops
Bloomberg Law states that legal departments can find immediate benefits by maximizing their legal ops potential. These benefits include improved efficiency, cost-savings, and streamlined processes. Legal ops covers 12 core competencies, with the following 3 being the most crucial for the business side of legal departments.
A core competency of legal ops, strategic planning involves creating goals that align with involved stakeholders’ priorities via the legal department. Tasks under strategic planning could include collaborating with the GC to achieve the legal department’s goals. Setting up goals and measuring them with KPIs, and analyzing the same will help guide the legal department towards developing and executing their strategic operations processes.
By removing financial processes and work from legal’s plate, legal ops takes control of spend and money, freeing up attorneys’ and GC time for pressing legal matters. Tasks that fall under financial competency could include legal ops tracking spend by creating a budget and monitoring the same, incorporating eBilling, predicting budget and legal spend, and proposing fee arrangements, along with reporting of all of the above.
Operations in Legal Operations
Putting the operations in legal operations, Gartner states that in order for legal departments to “effectively cope with increasing workloads, legal ops teams must build the company’s capacity to make better decisions”. Perhaps the most crucial element, streamlining legal department processes, eliminates the need for attorneys to take on rote tasks such as staffing, data analytics and metrics, licensing, CLM and legal department activity and event planning.
With legal ops, legal departments operate more like businesses rather than law firms, a JD Supra article notes. What started out as a preventive tool to mitigate risks and curb legal spend, legal ops now “delivers value to the law department”.
Legal departments have benefited from leveraging legal operations services by LegalEase Solutions.