20 Jan 2020

Legal operations come under spotlight at CLOC's London conference

London Institute meets as pressure grows to do more with less; CLOC releases directory to help find the right providers


Legal operations comes under the spotlight this week as the CLOC London Institute conference kicks off the first of two days today (20 January). The conference, which is hosted by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), focuses exclusively on the legal operations professional, and Global Legal Post is providing coverage on the ground.

The legal operations industry has experienced strong growth, with a continued rise in demand for dedicated legal operations professionals. In tandem, the market for legal service providers, support and tools has expanded as the pressure to drive down costs becomes more critical as an integral component of the legal services industry.

According to the EY survey Reimagining the Legal Function Report 2019, which was published last summer, 82% of the businesses surveyed planned to reduce legal function costs over the next 24 months while nearly 9 in 10 respondents (87%) reported that their legal function had undergone either a large or moderate increase in demand for management information over the past five years.

The survey stated that ‘these opposing forces of increasing demand and cost reduction are likely to further squeeze legal function operating models. This becomes more pronounced when factoring in the level of cost savings anticipated by respondents.’

Meanwhile, some 68% of legal operations departments in a 2019 Consero survey said they were still in the early stages of development, with a majority saying they expect their technology spend to increase over the next year.

The Blickstein Group 2019 Law Department Operations Survey found that a majority of legal teams are successfully improving how they operate but much work remains to be done as they strive to overcome a variety of challenges for law department transformation. With 33% of legal operations professionals being new to their roles within the last one to three years, this suggests 'considerable opportunity and room for maturity evolution', the report states.

Directory launch

In response to these dynamics, CLOC has launched a new free directory of legal service providers. The Legal Ops Directory aims to assist legal operations professionals in their search for the latest providers, solutions, and technology in the legal industry.

Mary O’Carroll, CLOC president and director of legal operations at Google, said: “There are so many outstanding services and solutions being launched every day that it’s difficult to stay on top of the new players. We hope that the new Legal Ops Directory will help to simplify the search.”

CLOC is planning to add additional features to the directory in the future, including a system for users to rate service providers.

This week's CLOC conference, which is being held The London Landmark hotel, will examine the changing landscape of legal operations, with the themes of technology, leadership, transformation and adaptability all coming under discussion.

There are sessions on: the roles and responsibilities of legal operations personnel; the structure of operations functions; legal leadership; how to effectively deploy managed legal services, contract management and AI; and the use of metrics to set outside counsel expectations.

The closing session tomorrow (21 January) is the The Ten Questions to Ask Yourself to Influence Your Future and will be led by academic, author, and speaker Dr Zachary Walker.