As legal and compliance recruiters in Texas, we continue to work with corporations who are improving their legal operations and getting more out of every dollar of legal spend. General Counsels remain focused on optimizing performance and creating new efficiencies in order to positively contribute to the bottom-line. Creating a well-run legal machine with enhanced productivity and improved efficiencies requires lawyers to combine their legal knowledge with business judgement. Enter stage right – Legal Operations Specialists – now indispensable members of the corporate legal team. Legal Operations Specialists arrive at their specialty through myriad paths, from legal work as an attorney or paralegal, an I.T. background, accounting, or other internal operations.
However they arrive there, Legal Operations Specialists understand the company’s priorities, goals, and operations, and continually develop the goals and scorecard of the legal department to optimize the delivery of legal services to the company. The responsibilities of Legal Operations Specialists are broad and typically include budgeting, working with HR on legal department hiring and performance evaluations, managing outside counsel proposals and contracts, implementing and managing e-billing systems, attorney training, growth & development, document management and retention processes, e-discovery systems, analyzing data, and implementing other new technology that increases efficiencies and helps contain costs. The combination of machine learning and expert systems offers a very powerful and efficient combination for organizations looking to have their attorneys focus on the most unique and critical problems and choosing to automate as many of the repetitive knowledge tasks as possible. Most operations managers report directly to the GC and, as often as not, have direct reports.
Professional organizations like the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (“CLOC”) have recently formed to help these professionals learn from each other, share ideas, and connect through educational events, and are tangible proof of the fast-growing nature of this profession. CLOC has experienced a significant increase in attendance at their annual conference – 1,000 attendees in May, 2017, which was double the number from the year before.
Running a law department like a business is critical in today’s environment and can be challenging without expert resources dedicated to managing the department’s operations. Operations managers can deliver, and legal operations will continue to play an increasingly significant role. Finding these diverse candidates is a skill, but the recruiters at Momentum relish the challenge and have had success placing legal operations professionals with both publicly and privately held companies in Texas.