The Rise of Corporate Legal Operations
The Need for Change
No facet of the modern enterprise has been left untouched by the roiling forces of change that have reshaped it. Global markets, extended supply chains, changing technology and a growing regulatory environment drive transformation on an unprecedented scale.
Without the right equipment in place, corporate legal departments of the past struggled to keep pace with their enterprise peers, who drove value through lean processes and new technologies.
Instead, legal still depended heavily on costly outside law firms, outdated (and inefficient) operational processes and a “putting-out-fires” mindset. As risk management became increasingly complex, the cost of the traditional legal business model exploded and other departments in the enterprise started to take note.
Despite their pivotal role in protecting organizations, more and more businesses started to question the value of legal. And legal, struggling to move at the speed of business, sought solutions to transform their department from a reactive cost-center to a strategic, value-driving business partner.
The Rise of Legal Operations
Driven by a need to control spiraling costs and prove their value, legal departments started to seek change.
- Ways to reduce spend with outside firms.
- Processes and technology that could drive efficiencies and ROI.
- Ways to better support the General Counsel, who was immersed in guiding and advising the company’s leadership team and had neither the time nor the skills to focus on running legal like a business.
And so emerged the new discipline of legal operations – a focused team that could transform legal to operate at the speed of business. A pivotal piece in today’s largest organizations across industries and a growing presence across the globe and in smaller organizations.
The first mission of legal ops? To manage legal spend.
Just like any other part of the enterprise, legal must operate to a budget. And in today’s world, those budgets are tightly constrained, obliging teams to do more with less.
Faced with these obstacles to overcome, trying to do everything manually is no longer an option.
Doing More With Less
There’s really only one way to do more with less – and that’s to have the right technology tools in place.
Tools that can provide legal teams the insights they need to:
- Understand and forecast spend
- Manage risk
- Protect their companies
- And collaborate with every other department in the business
With thousands of matters to track, myriad outside firms to coordinate and pay, and a host of internal risks from employees to prevent, legal must now take a proactive, collaborative approach to protect their organizations.
They must embed legal best practices across the business and partner with everyone from sales to production, HR, IT, procurement and more. A challenge that legal ops teams across the globe are rising to with enthusiasm.
The Legal Tipping Point
Corporate legal has now reached a tipping point, transforming itself from remote and antiquated to engaged and innovative, finding ways to make legal and compliance processes flow simply and easily to ensure consistent adoption and implementation.
Legal operations teams are now:
- Redefining benchmarks for process standards
- Striving to automate mundane and repetitive tasks so lawyers can focus on what’s most important
- Pushing to understand the cost of providing services ranging from a simple NDA to complex litigation
- Working to consolidate technology providers and embrace a platform strategy to integrate siloed systems and data, which ensures easier access for their teams and users across the enterprise
- Integrating all elements of legal ops, including policy management, contract and document management to reduce costs and facilitate adoption
As these teams succeed, legal has become the rising star of the enterprise – a driver for excellence and innovation focused on reducing cost, improving performance and defending against risk. In addition, legal establishes processes that protect while enabling the business to flourish.
And there’s so much innovation ahead. Predictive analytics and AI are just over the horizon; technologies that will aid litigation strategies by analyzing past outcomes.
By partnering with an organization with a proven track record of success, who cares about their clients, companies can rise to new challenges, create new opportunities and become more central to the growth and mission of their enterprises.
They can experience the thrill of success through empowering and enabling their entire enterprise with technology.