At this year’s CLOC Vegas Institute, we had the privilege of not only being a sponsor but also a presenter at a key session, Legal Ops 2.0: How Co-Innovation is Driving the Industry’s Future, that drew very positive reactions from attendees.
The starting point for the session? Legal Ops 2.0 is the ‘next generation’ of Legal Operations, where legal services and best practices are accessible throughout an organization thanks to legal technology like workflow automation. How those services are offered may differ, but the goals of Legal Ops 2.0 are steadfast: to drive cross-functional collaboration, reduce risk, promote legal best practices, and help enterprise leaders make data-driven decisions.
What impressions did Steven O’Donnell, Mitratech’s Head of Product Marketing – Legal Operations, get from the session – and the audience reaction?
“We had a 100% packed house,” he says. “The room held 250 people and there was standing room only. The fact that we had Devshree Chauhan of The GAP, Vince Cordo from Shell, Mike Russell of Ingersoll Rand, and Justin Hectus of KYL on stage with (Mitratech CEO) Jason Parkman was incredible, especially since most of our competitors were just giving demos.”
A hot topic? The TAP Co-Innovation Center
The focus was on the power of co-innovation in building the next phase of Legal Operations, and how an “amazing community of clients,” Steven explains, are helping to drive it. “They’re willing to co-innovate and share for the betterment of both other Legal Ops professionals, and the legal services industry as a whole. This is totally in the spirit of CLOC, where members are really defining the future through their willingness to try new things and share their successes and failures. It’s inspiring to see it in action at an event like this.”
So it shouldn’t surprise that one topic earned enormous interest. “The TAP Co-Innovation Center,” Steven says. “Devshree literally showed our ‘workflow cloud’ graphic as one of her slides, and we got many, many inquiries about it from people who attended the session and came by our booth afterward.”
The four TAP clients on hand presented their own case-study-based insights on how to promote co-innovation and Legal Ops advancement via legal tech.
KYL: Legal Service Centers and “ecosystem” integration
In the view of Keesal, Young & Logan and its Keesal Propulsion Labs initiative, it’s vital to establish legal service centers for companies. These also work as enterprise transformation centers, changing behaviors across the organization and ensuring ensure legal and compliance best practices are “intertwined throughout existing processes at the start and middle, rather than just the end,” as Justin Hectus explained.
Digitizing legal services means they can be automated, rendering the processes underpinning them standardized and predictable. TAP, in the case of KYL and its client, NetApp, unites the legal “ecosystem” between client, outside counsel, and technology provider.
Moreover, the expertise of Legal Ops in adopting legal process automation positions them as Business Process Automation (BPA) partners for the entire enterprise – a situation KYL has also seen come to fruition with NetApp and Mitratech. Within NetApp, TAP is being used in no less than 47 different use cases, as Legal Ops has extended its potential into HR, finance, product operations, and marketing.
The GAP: Why legal should drive workflow automation
As Devshree Chauhan pointed out during her presentation, the TAP customer community has “a real willingness to share workflow ideas, concepts and best practices.”
When The GAP was doing NDA workflow development, they were able to review four different approaches from four other TAP clients to identify common elements and key differences between them and use those findings as guidance in designing their own automated process.
That amount of close client engagement, she explained, enables Mitratech to build better products, as user voices shape the TAP product roadmap. Plus, events such as user group meetings at Interact 2018 let clients like her open themselves up to insights and ideas from others outside her own market segment.
Shell: Getting key processes really right
Vince Cordo had his own informed take on leveraging workflow automation, as he’s written a book on the subject of communication (or the lack thereof) between clients and outside counsel. His focus at Shell? On establishing ‘brilliant basics’ when it comes to core applications and fundamental processes. If those processes are well-designed and systematized, legal services will improve exponentially, as will the outcomes they deliver.
By moving to TeamConnect, for example, Shell has seen savings by moving from manual reporting to digital self-service, by creating time savings for outside counsel through e-billing, and reducing budgeting issues with those firms through increased transparency.
Enhanced, uniform project tracking improves efficiency by streamlining the intake of legal requests by assigning matters and issues to internal or external attorneys based on their real-time availability, familiarity with a matter, and so on.
This eliminates the need for bimonthly meetings to assign work. All of which gives the legal department, as he put it, “a new piece of ammunition” as it can now trumpet faster response and execution.
Ingersoll Rand: Aligning legal services with strategic goals
At Ingersoll Rand, Mike Russell applies the Hoshin Kanri methodology to legal services, ensuring they line up with strategic business goals. Hoshin Kanri (“Compass Management”) is meant to eliminate waste caused by misalignment of efforts, poor communication, or inconsistent direction, and a solution like TAP is a perfect fit with that approach.
One key to success is flexibility, as the legal service delivery model adapts to meet assigned strategic goals, which fall into two categories: Offensive, where new business initiatives are supported by legal services for IP, contracts, M&A and select litigation, and defensive, where legal resources must tackle compliance, labor/employment, and most corporate litigation.
To meet these efficiently, resources – consisting of the in-house legal team, outside counsel, other service vendors, and technology providers – must be properly deployed.
An essential tool for achieving this? Workflow automation that boosts productivity and efficiency by providing a superior user experience, reliability, visual management via centralized dashboards, and more. The net-net? Automating a process means the right resource can be aligned against a task at the right time, and at the right cost.
Thumbs-up reviews from attendees and analysts
What else was a highlight for us, in addition to the positive feedback we got from attendees? That fact that many of them took to social media to share their enthusiasm for what they’d just seen, and for TAP.
GCs often complain that they feel isolated when it comes to innovation, so this Co-Innovation project by @MitratechLegal that allows customers to see what their peers are doing is a positive move.
— Richard Tromans (@ArtificialLawya) May 13, 2019