As the world grows more and more interested in the concept of legal operations, not all people can define exactly what it is, or how it’s shaping the future of legal departments. LegalWorks met with Aine Lyons, founder and Europe lead of CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium), to get her input on the matter in hand and the future trends and prospects of it.
1. How would you describe CLOC?
A: It’s a community of change agents that are transforming the legal industry through their collective drive, experiences and IQ.
CLOC is the world leader in helping in-house legal teams on their journey to operational excellence. Our vision is a seamless legal ecosystem that delivers peak efficiency to the businesses and clients we serve. CLOC helps legal operations professionals and other core corporate legal industry players (e.g. tech providers, law firms, LPO’s, law schools, etc.) optimize the legal service delivery model. We do this by supporting legal ops and COS professional development; offering best practices support in areas including legal department tools, technology, templates and knowledge bases; and working with key legal service providers to drive efficient & effective solutions for corporate legal customers
2. How would you describe legal operations?
A: Legal operations is a multi-disciplinary function within a legal department that optimizes services delivery to a business or government entity focusing on CLOC’s 12 core competencies. See links to the competencies here.
3. What trends do you see in the legal operations industry?
A: Mainly three points:
In a digital world, we need to think about more self-service apps that people can access – anytime, anywhere, on any device. This is how some of our self-service portals and apps appear on employees’ mobile phones and iPads. We mirror how employees like to operate in their personal lives which is giving them the ability to have access on their mobile phones and iPads and to sign anytime, anywhere. I’m really focused on building more self-service apps and portals that legal team members and clients can use on their phones, laptops and other devices. We recently launched an NDA app, a Conflicts of Interest App and a Business Courtsies app, with about another 10 in development. This automates the work and the requests from employees and clients and gets them engaged in being responsible for compliance.
We are also applying AI for non-standard or customer paper NDAs. These run through the AI tool managed by our LPO. The tool “machine reads” the NDA against our standard template, so it’s a more efficient analysis of the gaps between our paper and the customer paper. It results in a faster review and, in some cases, no review at all.
I’d like to share a few things we’ve learned:
This is a pilot for us, starting with our NDAs, but we intend to roll out AI for other non-standard contract reviews and redlining efforts.
4. What advice do you have for legal operations teams trying to influence the legal department?
A: Make your projects enterprise ones aligned to business priorities; you’ll get executive sponsorship if you do so. That get everyone’s attention. Build a change management comms plan; it’s really critical. For tech project: Listen to the users – you’ll get better engagement if they know you are trying to solve their problems. Engage them in tool design and testing. Include champions and naysayers on the project; naysayers will help identify issues to solve before the roll out. Invest the time in streamlining and reengineer your processes, templates and playbooks. Avoid too much customization or hard coding – it will impact upgrades down the road. Celebrate small wins along the way to gets people on your side – first impressions count, so you need to ensure they are positive ones. Measure the impact of what you roll out; define your success metrics upfront and establish baseline data to measure movement and trends. Promote the results via our GC and other business leaders.
5. Why do you think legal operations is suddenly booming in the Nordics, when it has been a bigger deal in USA for quite a while?
A: The legal industry is changing around the world and the Nordics is no exception because of a couple of factors:
Aine Lyons will participate in this year’s Nordic Legal Tech Day, as a keynote speaker and part of the legal operations panel, together with Richard Mabey (Juro), Christian Swartling (Stora Enso), Ghislaine Gunge (UnitedLex) and Leif Frykman (LegalWorks). Don’t miss the opportunity to listen to and learn from this great roundup of people. Read more about the event and secure your place HERE.