2020 might sound like the future, but here we are. And while it might feel strange to look forward from our futuristic-sounding vantage point, it’s a worthy exercise. CLOC 2020 in London provided an opportunity for LOD to hear from legal ops leaders around the world on the state and trajectory of legal ops.
Missing the point
Most legal technology solutions are “point solutions”. This means that they solve one very specific task, but have little regard to the wider tech eco-system. Dan Katz talked about how this often presents their users with a large integration challenge - not merely from a user experience perspective but also accounting for the large cost associated with info-security. This was echoed by a recent survey done by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute Large Law Firm Technology Survey where interoperability was ranked as the most valuable aspect of the technology tool.
We should start to witness a shift away from point solutions to a common law stack – where interoperability is prioritised and there is a more unified approach to tools, engineering, UX and law. At LOD, we agree and we’ve developed offerings that are built entirely on the Microsoft stack – the best way to ensure interoperability!
A common refrain at CLOC (both this one, and many of the former ones) is the competitive advantage of listening. For legal operations specialists, listening is a key tool to winning the trust of the business. And it’s not just listening to your direct reports, it’s about having wider conversations and discussions with different parts of the business – finance, procurement, IT and other functions that interface with legal. By listening and collaborating, you build constructive relationships that engender trust and confidence – to be put it more simply – listening will allow you to properly do your job. If you’re not listening, you’re likely to fail.
A firm problem
“Law firms are still not getting it,” said Curt McDaniel, CLO at Ferring Pharmaceutical. “The global legal services industry has already changed, the disruption is already happening. Their Kodak moment is now, and either they will implode like Kodak, or be like Fuji Film and innovate and find a way forward. The hourly rates are too high, and too remote from the needs of business.”
General counsels around the world are frustrated with the pace of change by traditional law firms. The partnership model hasn’t enabled enough change and the slow cadence of change is becoming more and more difficult to understand.
Where does this all lead?
For many of the presenters and GCs, a common answer to their problems is a law company.
We agree. That’s why we're a business full of lawyers, legal technologists and analysts.