May 4 by Jason Smith
“You can’t stop the change, any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” A quote by Shmi Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace sums up the state of #LegalTech today. And this is no more evident than at the 3rd Annual Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (“CLOC”) Institute in Las Vegas that took place from April 22-25.
The Role of the Legal Operations Leader
The third installment of the CLOC conference was the biggest yet and shows the growth and momentum of Legal Operations, the role that highlights the need to run the corporate legal department like a business. A role that virtually didn’t exist 10 years ago has now become a force for change in innovating legal departments around the world through process re-engineering and technology, allowing the legal team to focus on strategic legal work instead of administrative tasks. The conference boasts a rock star lineup of Legal Operations heavy hitters from companies large and small discussing pragmatic solutions and strategic initiatives that enable collaboration among the many stakeholders that impact the legal department, from the General Counsel to the business clients to outside counsel, business partners and customers alike.
Two years ago, I presented at the inaugural conference on Predictive Contracting and Enterprise Legal Analytics – topics that are today still at the forefront of discussions around Artificial Intelligence. Evidence of the explosion of contract management as a mainstream legal technology could be seen at this year’s event, where 14% of the 163 sessions focused on contract management. And it’s no surprise that Apttus is the most widely used CLM among CLOC members, as over 25 sessions included speakers from Apttus clients. To put this in context, the 2016 CLOC Institute had a grand total of 50 sessions.
The Growth of Legal Operations
According to Connie Brenton, co-founder and CEO of CLOC (and Senior Director of Legal Operations for Apttus client, NetApp), legal operations “[is] a relatively new industry and it has hit the tipping point. We used to see one or two job postings [for legal operations positions] a year, now we see ten a month.” The tremendous growth in this “movement” has resulted in the CLOC Institute becoming a “must attend” conference in the legal space – something that’s quite incredible given the surge in attendance by legal department personnel for a conference that doesn’t even address the practice of law.
Mary O’Carroll, a member of CLOC’s Leadership Team, in her closing remarks to the conference, suggested the road to legal operations success isn’t an easy road, but it’s a road that must be traveled.
“Half the time, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m making things up as I go along, just like the rest of you. The other half, I’m pleasantly surprised any of these crazy ideas seem to be working at all. And believe me: plenty of things I work on fail. But they help us make progress! And that is the ONLY WAY to move forward and innovate.”
Mary rallied the audience to a call to action, suggesting that there is no movement until someone acts first. And when that first person takes the leap of faith, they’ll soon realize they’re not alone. What once was thought impossible, is now mainstream and widely adopted. Like contract management and legal operations.
So what are you waiting for? Take the next step in your legal operations journey. Attend Apttus Accelerate 2018 and learn why Apttus CLM has the highest customer satisfaction and is the most widely adopted CLM solution.
Do. Or do not. There is no try.