It was wonderful to see old friends and meet new ones at the recent Corporate Legal Operations (CLOC) Institute in Las Vegas, and to participate in the knowledge-sharing that is the event’s hallmark.
The CLOC Institute is an exception to the rule that everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Here are a few of our takeaways:
- There is a wide range of legal operations maturity, and what constitutes maturity varies by organization and industry. While some law departments’ operations functions have evolved considerably, others recognizably have considerable opportunity to mature. Education sessions on the CLOC maturity model, including those where we presented, were filled, and there was a full range of maturity levels represented, including a fair number who consider themselves at the “Foundational” or earlier stage. A number of visitors to our booth were just beginning their journey. Even “mature” departments have opportunities for continued improvement, as they strive to increase their value to business partners and invest in increasingly sophisticated technology.
- Legal technology continues to grow, both in the size of technology companies – the ongoing consolidation and acquisitions, including those announced around the time of the Institute – and in the range of technology tailored to specific aspects of legal operations. We saw considerable interest in workflow management systems, indicating a strong desire to automate standard processes. Contract lifecycle management (CLM) system providers were ubiquitous, as organizations recognize the need to better manage their range of agreements and the related processes. These trends are consistent with HBR’s most recent Law Department Survey results and our recommendations for advancing technology maturity in our recent CLOC blog post.
- Legal operations professionals are hungry for real-time data. We saw significant interest in analytics tools and other ways to use data to measure performance and make decisions. Sessions on data-related topics were filled, and tools like HBR’s CounselCommand, a data-agnostic tool that consolidates a wide range of information into customizable, easily accessible dashboards, garnered a lot of attention.
- We are beginning to see progress toward alignment and collaboration across the legal ecosystem. In her opening remarks, new CLOC president Mary O’Carroll emphasized the organization’s interest in connecting across the ecosystem – she announced CLOC’s efforts to get law firms more involved, including beta-testing a new membership type for law firms. Indeed, law firms were highly visible contributors to the event, as major sponsors, panelists and promoters of new tools and services. In HBR’s role as trusted advisor and provider to both law departments and law firms, we see a real opportunity in the current market for law departments and law firms to align on common challenges and collaborate to achieve lasting value for both.
HBR is proud to have contributed to the thought leadership of the Institute, both through our posts on CLOC’s blog and our participation in several panel presentations. If you missed any of those, you can find the blog posts here:
- “Three Keys to Optimizing Resources” by Lauren Chung
- “Transaction Management Systems Drive Next Step in Technology Maturity for Corporate Law Departments” by Wafik Guirgis
- ”Corporate Legal Analytics Move Beyond Financial Metrics” by Andrew Baker and Scott Springer
We also participated in the educational sessions listed below. For those who were able to attend the event, materials are available on the CLOC Institute app.
- Don’t Gamble Your Future: Advance Your Operations Maturity
- Money Talks: Global Legal Matter Budgets
- Legal Operations Maturity Model: The Right Way to Level Up
We think CLOC is a great organization for law departments seeking to optimize their legal service delivery models, learning from their peers and others in the legal ecosystem. If you would like more information about CLOC and its initiatives or about HBR’s involvement, please do not hesitate to contact me.