Legal operations is a source of competitive advantage at best-in-class legal departments. Legal operations at Fortune 500 companies drives enhanced performance, legal results, and key metrics in a cost effective manner.
Legal Operations DeFInition:
Legal operations are the core of a high-performing legal department’s overall, sustainable effectiveness. Best-in-class legal departments have invested time and resources to optimize legal operations.
Strong legal operational performance is paramount to the achievement of the goals of the legal function and larger corporation itself. However, it can be difficult for legal department leaders to manage the complexities of operational performance while also overseeing substantive practice areas and ongoing legal matters. As such, legal operations has emerged as "the glue" that holds the various practice areas and functions of the department together. Optimized legal operations are the centerpiece of an in-house legal organizations' sustainable effectiveness and impact. Leading legal departments have invested resources and focused on this increasingly important discipline.
With effective operations, the best legal departments leverage a business-driven, high-performing, scalable delivery model to tackle both the routine and the unexpected challenges that invariably arise.
Legal Operations: Overview
Creating a legal operations management approach in areas such as financial and performance management, reporting, billing, vendor management, resource allocation, outside counsel management, and legal analytics can reduce costs and free up scarce resources that can be reallocated to higher value legal work.
While reliable operational functioning is vital to furthering the mission of the legal function and the broader corporate entity - it can be challenging for senior legal executives to be "hands on" operational directors while also leading in-depth, complex practice areas. Stepping in to fill the gap, legal operations are evolving to be the "sinews" that bind the constituent parts of the legal department into a coherent, congruent whole.
Most legal departments benefit from optimizing legal operations management, regardless of size. By re-engineering legal department functions, systems and processes, effective legal department operations enables in-house counsel to focus purely on high value legal activities. Effective re-alignment of roles and responsibilities ensures work is being performed by appropriately qualified, but lower cost-resources.
Legal Operations: Solutions and Savings
Argopoint helps build and improve legal operations excellence. Argopoint provides strategic-level guidance on the multidisciplinary administration of in-house legal business practices to maximize the value and efficiency of a legal department to the corporation; it encompasses areas such as financial and performance management, reporting, billing, legal technology support, vendor management, and outside counsel management.
We help clients identify and implement legal operations management best practices. Our support for legal operations strategies can focus on:
- Performance management strategies (that drive meaningful, measurable improvements)
- Improved processes and management approaches (with enabling technology as appropriate)
- Optimized workflow supported by guidelines and SOP's
- Improved roles and responsibilities (with clarity around delineations)
- Demand management disciplines (legal departments fail when they are order takers; they need to actively identify "customer needs" and prioritize stakeholder requests)
- Optimized contract management (and appropriate, efficient support and collaboration of procurement functions)
- Vendor (ancillary, non-law firm, legal services) management
- Outside counsel management (with appropriate, disciplined tools and management processes)
- Litigation support
- Knowledge management (no longer the "nice to have" as legal departments are increasingly becoming repositories for the enterprise)
- Technology support (that is focused on and finally "gets" the unique needs of legal)
- Financial and budget management disciplines
- Performance (KPI-driven) and cost dashboards
- Data and legal analytics (leading departments have significantly upgraded capabilities in the past five years alone - adding new tools, processes, and staff)
- Professional capability and resource development
- Program management (traditionally a weak point of departments (and lawyers) - this is becoming increasingly important to drive widespread and lasting change)
- Cross-departmental and cross-functional alignment
Argopoint helps legal department leaders maximize and drive significant value from their legal teams through optimized legal operations. Superior legal operations capabilities are quickly moving from a "nice to have" to a "must have" at leading legal departments.
Understanding where your department is on the journey, and how progress on that path can be accelerated is a critical first step. Argopoint's expertise and knowledge of leading departments "best-practices" are reasons why legal department leaders speak to us first when they want to get started.