May 16 by Jason Smith
Last week, several hundred Legal Operations executives gathered in San Francisco for the 1st Annual Corporate Legal Operations Institute. CLOC is an acronym that stands for Corporate Legal Operations Consortium and the organization boasts members from the law departments of some of the world’s largest companies. CLOC’s mission is focused on helping “legal operations professionals and other core corporate legal industry players (e.g. tech providers, law firms, LPO’s, law schools, etc.) optimize the legal service delivery models needed to support the needs of small, medium and large legal departments.”
The event had more than 50 sessions focused on a variety of topics important to legal operations. The sessions were also broken down into basic, intermediate and advanced and included handouts ranging from best practice documents to usable templates, checklists and other key documentation. Whether you’re into artificial intelligence and emerging technologies or you’re still catching up to the latest in information governance, the conference had something for everyone. Attendees walked away with actionable information and real tools they could immediately implement when they got back to the office. Many of the sessions had speakers who recently presented on thought leadership topics at our own Apttus Accelerate in April.
My session entitled, “Predictive Contracting: Seeing the Dangers of Bad Deals Before it’s Too Late” included everything a law department needs from Yogi Berra, Maury Povich, professional sports and Law Department Dashboarding to the Food Network, Presidential Elections, Big Data, Contract Management and IoT references. It was an interactive session where attendees were empowered to challenge the status quo of simply improving efficiency of processes and cutting costs in the law department to envision tools that would allow their companies to avoid bad deals before they ever got into them in the first place. With real-life examples, the audience was taken on a journey through what was not just theoretical in some distant future, but what is actually possible today, with Apttus Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent CLM.
Enterprise Legal Analytics
Apttus partner, HBR Consulting, presented a session on Law Department Dashboards where Kevin Clem discussed “Enterprise Legal Analytics”. This topic is near and dear to our hearts as we at Apttus continue to lead the industry with cutting edge data-driven decision-making tools in our Contract Lifecycle Management suite. In fact, Clem highlighted an initiative being undertaken by Apttus and HBR at a joint client of ours. This $11.5B global IT company is combining data from its matter management and e-billing systems with the contract lifecycle data its collecting in Apttus to get a broader view of the legal operations and how they align with the strategic corporate vision and market landscape. HBR measures the law department performance not just against their maturity model, but also against the information contained in over 30 years of their legal benchmarking study. We’re jointly taking the concept of “big data” and flipping it on its head to focus on “smart data”… data that doesn’t just provide accurate information, but that delivers relevant and actionable intelligence.
The program is focused on building a library of standards, best practices and templates for use by law departments around the world. This session targeted the Outside Counsel Guidelines the group had developed and specifically the deployment of the OCG at NetApp and Adobe. They gave some very useful advice on rollout strategies, communications and addressing pushback by the law firms. An interesting moment occurred during the Q&A when a law firm finance director took the microphone and profusely thanked CLOC for developing the standard OCG because, as she put it, “this makes life in the law firm finance department much easier when multiple corporate clients are all using the same OCG.” It was clearly a moment of celebration for everyone involved as this unintended consequence was revealed. The templates and other documentation can be found on the organization’s website at www.cloc.org.
Overall, this first ever event of its kind was a resounding success and CLOC is hitting the right message with a historically under served market. I was honored to be a speaker at the inaugural event and proud that Apttus was invited to be a sponsor. There was a clear sense of collaboration at this event among attendees. It’s been a long time in the making, but it’s great to see an event focused on those who dedicate their careers to making the business of law every bit as prestigious and successful as the practice of law.