Day one at CLOC started at a high level, in Europe's legal ops leaders' quest for more efficient, effective legal departments. On day two we moved towards more practical answers. Here are our key takeaways from the day.
1. Metric fever is only increasing
Lisa Konie, CLOC Board Member and Adobe's Director of Legal Operations, led the first session of the day on metrics, and it immediately became clear that the desire to properly track data is a defining concern for the modern legal department. While some sessions on day one had struggled to generate audience participation, Lisa was only ten minutes in when delegates started breaking in with questions.
With a legal headcount approaching 200, Adobe certainly has a rich dataset, but teams of all sizes are starting to prioritise better metrics as a key result that will help both the business and the legal function. For advice on how to get started in your journey to becoming data-driven, check out Lucy Endel Bassli's chapter in our eBook, 'Data analytics: the foundation of a successful legal department.'
2. Legal ops is a marathon - not a sprint
Maurus Schreyvogel, Chief Legal Innovation Officer at Novartis, is a legal ops leader with some impressive results to share. So much so that delegates were queuing outside the ballroom to get in. And with good reason - reimagining legal service delivery and contract management to save an incredible $40m annually for Novartis in IP portfolio costs is a staggering achievement.
But Maurus was keen to emphasise that reaching an end-state able to deliver efficiency like this is an undertaking years in the making - and the 11-year timeline he laid out on screen underlines this fact. DPA Professionals' Max Hübner oversaw a similar process, and the steps Maurus laid out were familiar: develop an activity list; find out who does what; carry out a timekeeping vs activity survey; and importantly, "put why before what." Developing a service delivery model that satisfies your internal customer AND delivers financially will take time - but it's worth it.
3. Legal ops = lifelong learning
Áine Lyons (VMWare) and Kerry Phillip (Vodafone) shared their experiences driving improvements to gargantuan contract processes; Vodafone, for example, had a 600-strong in-house function with desperately low morale to navigate before its award-winning Swift initiative.
But analyzing, improving and transforming processes like this leads to a lot of lessons being learned. In fact, at one point, there were more than 30 lessons on screen. This is why when it comes to legal operations - which is, let's not forget, a multi-disciplinary endeavour - it's crucial to reach out and share knowledge with peers from other companies. Whether that's joining CLOC, subscribing to Juro's newsletters or joining a mentoring scheme, it's important to realise that whatever challenge your team is facing, there's almost certainly someone out there who's faced it too. Find them!
4. How to make lawyers into leaders
Then it was time to call the doctor. Dr. Larry Richard has spent years analyzing the behavioural traits of lawyers, and had some uncomfortable home truths for the legal minds in the room. Lawyers score lower than average for resilience and sociability, and way above average on skepticism - which makes being a good leader an uphill struggle.
While many delegate were managers, there's a difference between management and leadership, according to Dr. John Kotter - here's a summary from the man himself 📺
To overcome these obstacles, lawyers can take a leaf out of Richard Roi's book and try to embody the five behaviours necessary to effect transformational leadership 👇
5. In-house is still ripe for innovation
Finally, Mary O'Carroll introduced the man she called 'the OG' of legal innovation - Dr. Richard Susskind. He has been predicting the radical transformation of the legal profession for decades, and to an extent he's been right, but Susskind remains hopeful that the 'legal innovation' agenda will move beyond what he sees as process improvement, and into actual radical transformation. He also emphasised that almost all of the technological advances that have come to the profession in recent years have been pointed at making law firms more efficient - meaning that the in-house world still has huge potential for innovation.
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it"
Susskind was critical of law schools - particularly in the UK - who, he feels, could do more to prepare law students for the profession they're joining. Some students make it through their whole education without ever meeting a client - "imagine if medical students did that," he wondered - and perhaps it's the role of CLOC to help the in-house community connect with lawyers in the making, showing them what a modern, transformative profession could look like.
As the conference wrapped, it seemed inevitable that next year's CLOC would be bigger, and subsequent years bigger still. The in-house innovation agenda has come a long way, but in many respects it's just getting started.
Missed day one of CLOC? Here's what happened.