CEO Corner: How Legal Ops Can Sustain Business Continuity During Coronavirus

Mike Williams |

During disruptions and upheavals like COVID-19, there’s an opportunity for all of us to step up. Some professions can lead the way through a crisis in their own particular ways. Right now, Legal Ops is in a position to do that in terms of sustaining business continuity.

Nobody seriously compares the role of Legal Ops to the jobs being done by the medical community and first responders. But for a company, maintaining its legal ecosystem is important in keeping its operations running as effectively as possible right now. Keeping those operations underway, in turn, supports employees and their loved ones.

As our Steven O’Donnell explains it, there’s a very real chance the corporate legal ecosystem of in-house counsel, outside counsel, stakeholders, and other legal services providers might very quickly collapse if not for the efforts of Legal Operations teams. “Legal Ops is literally at the center of it all,” he says, and I can’t disagree in the least.

A moment when Legal Ops is stepping up

As you might expect from a community that’s always been proactive and innovative, our Legal Ops clients are already rising to the task. Maintaining business continuity – both with the legal ecosystem and even (in a growing number of instances) across other units of their enterprises – is a central tenet of their mission.

A new phase of enterprise transformation

Legal Operations is familiar with strategies for embracing agility, scalability, and flexibility. They led the charge toward digital transformation for the legal ecosystem; much of the innovation they’ve done there has been adopted by other departments within their companies.

Now there’s another opportunity for Legal Ops to apply that same forward-thinking outlook to what might be an even bigger need. It’s for what we’re calling Business Continuity Transformation.

Business Continuity Transformation

This is a philosophy and a strategy where specific strategies, technologies, and techniques are applied on to evolving and expanding an enterprise’s capacity to continue business-as-usual during disruptions, while optimizing performance during periods of normalcy.

Continuity planning, in other words, shouldn’t simply be about being prepared for contingencies and emergencies. It has to be more central to the organization than ever, because the new business reality is one of inevitable and unceasing disruption, whether it’s caused by pandemics, natural disasters, technologies, economics, legislation and regulation, or other factors. This can be an enterprise-wide opportunity for Legal Operations, extending from the boardroom to the breakroom, as they’re able to evangelize the solutions, processes, and tools an organization uses to ensure operational continuity in the face of crisis or change.

Legal Ops can help enterprises transform their continuity planning and execution so they’re prepared for both immediate demands and for future upheavals, whether they’re big or small, sudden or gradual. Those might include the possibly permanent changes to how companies do business after this current crisis has passed.

This is the sort of initiative Legal Ops is already uniquely equipped to take on, and it’s one that will be roundly embraced by smart organizations who have learned, over just these past few weeks, how crucial it is to be able to weather a shock to the system like COVID-19.

Join a Virtual Summit by Legal Ops leaders

How Legal Ops is already coping with the current crisis, and how it can lay the cornerstones of future agility, will be topics of an upcoming virtual summit conference featuring many of the experts and pioneers who have helped lead Legal Ops in its growth and success.

So please join them and our Mitratech leadership for Continuity During Coronavirus, as we examine best practices to employ right now, and the measures Legal Ops can take to come out of this crisis stronger and more vital to enterprise success than ever before.