Recapping CLOC 2020: A Community Comes Together In Tough Times

Steven O'Donnell |

When it mattered perhaps as much as in any year, CLOC did an excellent job of bringing together the Legal Operations community for a virtual conference.

Between the sessions, the networking lounge with different topic areas, and the virtual booths at the expo center, the CLOC team was able to convey that familiar feeling of community and camaraderie that makes it the premier event for the legal ecosystem. Even though the 2020 CLOC Global Institute had to be executed online.

We at Mitratech were particularly excited to see the CLOC announcement of its plans to expand membership to the community that serves legal operations to include technology vendors. We can’t wait to join and increase the extend of our partnership and participation with CLOC and its membership.

Standout themes in a year of change

There were a number of important themes throughout the conference that were fitting for 2020.  The importance of change management and business resiliency were two of them that really stood out to me as they recurred in some of the sessions that I attended.

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Jenn McCarron, CLOC Board Member & Director of Legal Operations & Technology at Netflix, led an excellent discussion with industry experts, Meet the Change Makers: Legal Disruption as an Opportunity which trenchantly dug into how Legal Operations can actually take advantage of disruption and turn it into an opportunity to improve an organization’s future prospects and resilience.

It was a visionary session, in the best sense of the word, as it explored practical ideas to “design a new future,” as the session description put it.  It’ll take strong leadership and innovation to make it a reality, but what else is the Legal Ops community known for, if not those?

One technology that jumped out?

One of the technologies on display at CLOC 2020 that was really front-and-center for me?   Process automation, a technology that has really powered improved efficiency during this period, when so many of us have been working from home.  Beyond that, it’s also been an important means of driving cross-functional collaboration for Legal Ops professionals and those they serve.

Mitratech offers a well-regarded workflow automation solution with our TAP product, but this was by no means the only vendor at the conference. In fact, I saw more workflow and process automation vendors at this year’s conference than ever before, which re-enforces its rising importance within the industry. It also reinforces that we at Mitratech owe it to our clients and partners to stay on top of our game if we’re going to stay ahead of the pack.

I personally enjoyed a roundtable discussion led by Mitratech client Jeff Marple, Director Legal Innovation at Liberty Mutual, entitled Effectively Manage Your Legal Requests – An Intake & Self-Service Tools Roundtable Discussion that emphasized the importance of process automation and the offering of legal services to business users.

And very selfishly, my favorite part of CLOC?  No surprise, it was the Mitratech session, Building a Future-Proof Legal Tech Stack. George Chiu, Director of Systems Development at Prudential Financial, Brian McGovern, General Manager of Workflow Solutions at Mitratech, and Yuka Tzavaras, Senior Manager of Legal Operations at Electronic Arts laid out the key steps and best practices for building a legal stack today that will keep delivering value while helping to insulate an organization from the risks and costs that might result from some future disruption, whenever it happens.

Utterly different yet totally the same

All in all, it was a new kind of CLOC Global Institute, but in spirit, engagement, and usefulness? It was almost exactly the same as in years past.  People came together in a common cause, with an eye on tomorrow but also with plenty of on-the-ground good sense about how to get there.  That’s what, in the opinion of a lot of people, myself included, still makes CLOC the best community around for legal business professionals, bar none.

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