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What is legal operations?

Richard Mabey, 1 July 2019

Legal operations means running in-house legal like a business, focusing on competencies like financial management, analytics and service design to make legal efficient, effective and fit for the modern business.

This knowledge hub collects a series of resources that will help to explain the importance of legal operations, as well as providing practical advice as to how to get started at your company today. Use the links below to navigate around this page.

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Video explainer | Competencies: CLOC & the ACC The best tech tools for in-house legal | Juro legal operations eBook

Legal operations competencies

Financial management | Vendor management | Cross-functional alignment | Technology & process support | Service delivery & alternative support models | Organisational design, support & management | Communications | Data analytics | Litigation support | IP management | Knowledge management | Information governance & records management | Strategic planning

Legal operations leaders: innovator interviews

Ioana Badiu, Legal innovation and operations manager, UiPathMateo Sanchez, Global head of legal ops, Uber | James Sullivan, Head of Legal & CoSec, Monzo | Bob Mignanelli, Legal COO, Pearson | Lucy Bassli, Author, 'The simple guide to legal innovation

More Juro legal operations resources

Legal for ScaleupsHow to hire a high-growth legal team | Contract automation: start small, win big | Webinar: designing data-driven legal teams | Webinar: getting started with legal operations - from nothing to something | Podcast: building data-driven legal teams | Further reading, links and resources

If you have resources you'd like us to add to this page, or requests for further information on legal operations, get in touch anytime.

In 90 seconds: what is legal operations?

Legal operations explained in 90 seconds 👇

 

Legal operations competencies

What is CLOC?

The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium is one of the leading industry bodies working to make in-house legal more efficient, effective and fit for the modern business. CLOC has a helpful framework of 12 competencies, ranging from foundational through advanced and mature levels, through which to understand legal operations. The core competencies, according to CLOC, are:

  • Financial management 💵
  • Vendor management 🛒
  • Cross-functional alignment 🤝
  • Technology & process support 🤖
  • Service delivery & alternative support models 📞
  • Organisational design, support & management 🧩
  • Communications 📡
  • Data analytics 📈
  • Litigation support & IP management ⚔️
  • Knowledge management 📚
  • Information governance and records management 🗂
  • Strategic planning 🔮

These are set out here:

cloc-core-competencies

© 2020 Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, Inc.

For more information on legal operations, visit CLOC's website.

A mature legal department with effective legal operations should have developed a high level of competency in each of these core areas. Successful legal operations teams will often draw on non-legal talent to drive these areas forward - putting finance experts in charge of budgeting, IT people in charge of the tech stack, procurement professionals in charge of vendor management, and so on.


What is the ACC Maturity Model?

The Association of Corporate Counsel has a well-respected and widely used framework for legal operations too. Its ACC Maturity Model sets out in some detail the different disciplines that fall under legal ops, guiding you through every stage you need to navigate to reach maturity. Click below to check out the ACC Maturity Model in more depth.

The best legal tech tools for in-house teams

Need to set up your legal function and scale it fast, but not sure which legal tech you need? Category by category, we've curated the best tools to jump start your legal team today. We've covered:

  • Spend and matter management 💸
  • Contract management 📃
  • Flexible resourcing 💪
  • Contract review 🧐
  • Knowhow and research 📖
  • Task management 🚦
  • E-signing 🖋
  • Time tracking ⏱
  • Wikis and KM 🗄

Read the full list of legal tech tools.

Juro's legal operations eBook

Download the entire eBook for free here: 'Legal operations - how to do it and why it matters'

Foreword | Introduction | Financial management | Vendor management | Cross-functional alignment | Technology & process support | Service delivery & alternative support models | Organisational design, support & management | Communications | Data analytics | Litigation support | IP management | Knowledge management | Information governance & records management | Strategic planning

Legal operations is so important to the future of in-house legal that we wrote a book about it, gathering insights and experiences from expert thought leaders from around the world. They include GCs, heads of legal, heads of legal operations and VPs; their companies have included S&P100 and NASDAQ100 components, fintech unicorns, British retail giants and ALSPs.

You can download the book in its entirety here, or we've made each chapter available in full online below. Pick the competency you'd most like to learn about, and read the insights of some of the foremost legal experts that the industry has to offer.

 

Legal operations - how to do it and why it matters

Foreword | Bjarne Tellman, GC & CLO, Pearson
Introduction | Richard Mabey, Co-founder & CEO, Juro

Financial management

Chapter 1 | A seat at the table
Jameson Monteiro, Head of Legal Operations, Assurant
How can lawyers speak the same language as their finance colleagues, and win their trust with smart forecasting? Become a budget hero with better financial management.

Vendor management

Chapter 2 | What makes a sophisticated buyer?
Denise Nurse, CEO & Founder, Halebury | Read the full chapter 
Learn how to become a sophisticated buyer of legal services: best-practice advice for finding, appointing, monitoring and managing external counsel.

Cross-functional alignment

Chapter 3 | How to make friends
Mike Russell, Lean Leader, Legal Operations, Ingersoll-Rand 
Make friends and influence people by aligning legal collaboratively with the most important functions in the business - because no lawyer is an island, and everyone needs friends.

Technology & process support

Chapter 4 | The rise of the lawyer-engineers
Dean Nash, GC, Monzo
Hitting 350 employees and 850,000 customers inside three years doesn’t leave much time for legal tech procurement. Find out how Monzo engineered their legal function for unstoppable growth.

Service delivery & alternative support models

Chapter 5 | How satisfied is your internal client?
Max Hübner, General Counsel & Executive Director Legal Operations, DPA Professionals
Find out how to map legal’s needs against its resources, and monitor internal client satisfaction, to deliver the best-in-class legal service your business wants - and expects.

Organisational design, support & management

Chapter 6 | Creating an empowered legal team
Natalie Salunke, VP Head of Legal Europe, Fleetcor
Find out how to manage a globalised team and maintain consistency as a business grows organically and acquisitively, in a legal industry that’s never been more complex.

Communications

Chapter 7 | Thinking outside the inbox
Jason Macarthur, Head of Legal Solutions, DWF 
Breaking the habit of a lifetime and overcoming the inbox is a big ask for any lawyer. Find out how to rethink communications for the modern business - and keep stakeholders onside.

Data analytics

Chapter 8 | The foundation of a successful legal department
Lucy Bassli, Founder, InnoLegal Services
Data, and its smart, tactical use, will be the foundation of the next generation of successful legal departments. Identify the crucial analytics to monitor - how, when, where and why.

Litigation support

Chapter 9 | Digital tools solving digital problems
Glenn O’Brien, Former Director of Electronic Discovery, Liberty Mutual
Electronic discovery has changed the game in litigation, but has it progressed far enough? Find out whether today’s tools are adequate for the emoji era.

IP management

Chapter 10 | Protecting what matters most
Faye Moran, Senior Legal Operations Manager, Marks & Spencer
Few in-house practice areas can directly influence revenue more than IP, but how can you best realise that value in an in-house environment that demands more for less?

Knowledge management

Chapter 11 | How to make your team smarter
Founder and Chairman, LegalWorks Nordic 
How do you build an in-house knowledge management system from the ground up, and why should you? Read reflections from the front lines in the battle to preserve legal knowledge.

Information governance and records management

Chapter 12 | Keeping your corporate memory
Rohan Paramesh, VP Head of Legal, Habito
Optimising your information governance can have an immediate upside for a company seeking to grow quickly and make better decisions - find out how to make it work for you.

Strategic planning

Chapter 13 | Survive and thrive in the new normal
Mick Sheehy, Partner, PwC NewLaw; Regional Leader, CLOC Australia 
How do you deal with more-for-less as a long-term, strategic imperative? Learn lessons from a GC who did just that - and saved 40,000 hours of low-value work in a year.

Legal operations leaders: innovator interviews

"It’s a balancing act - we have to walk the line between what sales wants and what legal needs"

Ioana Badiu, Legal innovation and operations manager, UiPath | Legal operations for hypergrowth

"If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, and fix one thing, then I’d focus on the retention and management of contracts"

Mateo Sanchez, Global head of legal ops, Uber | Scaling legal operations at Uber

“The ultimate arbiter of your success is the business - they’ll measure your success by your ability to improve current processes and support their wider objectives”

James Sullivan, Head of Legal and Company Secretary, Monzo  | Embedding an operations mindset

"We've created standard playbooks and system templates; designed or re-engineered the service delivery process; provided training; and implemented a single, standard technology solution"

Bob Mignanelli, Legal COO, Pearson | Creating the Transaction Services Center

"A successful legal function is all about showing a willingness to listen. Experience, age and background don’t always matter”

Suzanne Phillips, Senior corporate counsel, Zendesk | From business prevention unit to value-add

“Awareness of the fully loaded contract cost is a fantastic tool to help you make a business case for additional headcount, or for using an ALSP for future similar transactions”

Lucy Endel Bassli, author 'The simple guide to legal innovation' | The 7 best contract metrics to track

More Juro legal operations resources

Get the guide: Legal for Scaleups

You've just joined a high-growth tech company as its first lawyer. How do you get from square one to a dynamic, robust, scalable legal function? We gathered expert insight from legal leaders at some of the world's fastest-growing businesses, including Intercom, Babylon Health, Onfido and Monzo, to find out. Download it here: Legal for Scaleups.

Get the guide: How to hire a high-growth legal team

Find out how high-growth businesses like Monzo, Zoopla and Habito create their legal dream teams. This guide explores the different roles that legal leaders hire as the business expands, how to interview them, and the pros and cons of each profile. Download it here: How to hire a high-growth legal team.

Get the guide: Contract automation - start small, win big

You don't need to pursue a massive transformation project to see efficiencies and ROI from contract automation. This guide takes a deep dive into three documents (NDAs, MSAs, employment offer letters) that businesses often choose to start with. Can your business win big, by starting small? Download it here: Contract automation - start small, win big. 

Webinar: designing data-driven legal teams

Making the best use of data is a key competency in legal operations, and a fundamental part of optimising your in-house legal function for today’s environment. But many lawyers we speak to want practical advice as to how they can get started in their company. For this webinar we discussed practical ways to make improvements, with a panel that included:

  • Stephanie Corey: CLOC Co-Founder; Co-founder and General Partner at UpLevel Ops
  • Lucy Endel Bassli: Founder & Principal of InnoLegal Services, Chief Legal Strategist at LawGeex
  • Sarah Barrett-Vane: Legal Operations Consultant, former Director of Legal Ops at Royal Mail

 

Webinar: getting started with legal operations - from nothing to something

You might be sold on the importance of legal ops, but you may not have the budget, the time nor the backing to hire in a legal ops function. Nonetheless, making your department more efficient is still a mandate you need to deliver. For this webinar, we gathered three experts with experience in making an immediate impact for legal:

  • Amy Jacoby: Legal Operations Manager, Spotify
  • Natalie Salunke, VP Head of Legal, Europe, Fleetcor
  • Holly Manvell, Deputy Company Secretary and Head of Legal Operations, Trainline.

 

Podcast: building data-driven legal teams

We caught up with Isabella Galleano for her legal innovation podcast, 'The Quirky Lawyer,' in which we discussed the drive for innovation in-house, and how to put data-driven aspirations into practice.

Find out more about the podcast at The Quirky Lawyer and subscribe to the podcast here.

Further reading, links and resources

Membership bodies
Association of Corporate Counsel | Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) | IBA Corporate Counsel Forum

Useful sites
Law.com | Practical Law | Lexis in-house | In-house ops | Crafty Counsel: Legal ops videos

LinkedIn groups
CLOC | INHOUSE LEGAL | Legal Innovation and Technology | In-house legal design | Juro on LinkedIn

Topics: Legal operations

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