Legal Ops: A New Technology-Driven Legal Department Role on the Rise in Europe

Legal Ops (Legal Operations) has been a staple in many legal departments in the United States for decades. In 2021, in-house legal teams in Europe are also beginning to focus on creating legal operation roles in order to maximize how technology and data are used to make the delivery of legal services more efficient and streamlined. ­

Legal Ops: A New Legal Department Role on the Rise in Europe

Legal Ops: A Technological And Data-Driven Addition to Legal Teams

Legal operations has recently been gaining international traction, particularly in Europe. The implementation of legal ops roles in legal departments has been synonymous with the modernization of outdated work processes, facilitating change, and adopting new technologies.

This has resulted in a new role, Chief Legal Operations Officer (CLOO). The CLOO’s role is multidisciplinary and primarily concerned with budgeting, strategic planning, data, and implementing new technologies. The CLOO has very little to with legal processes. Instead, it focuses on applying business practices and implementing new digital tools to make the entire legal department more productive and successful as a whole.

The activities of the legal operations department free up legal professionals to concentrate on their main tasks. This improves performance and creates a more functional and efficient work environment. The legal ops team works closely with all in-house teams including sales, support, IT, and finance. By collaborating with cross-functional teams, legal ops are able to put in place a more harmonious, effective, and modern business strategy. 

 

“Legal departments that can use technology solutions and legal operations to drive greater efficiency in-house will be the winners.”

 

—Caroline Van Allen, Senior Research Specialist, Gartner

Improving Operational Performance with Legal Ops

In-house legal teams tend to face many organizational challenges which hamper their productivity and long-term growth. A common trap for in-house teams is the tendency to apply short-term solutions to long-term problems. Legal operations alleviate these problems by implementing sustainable strategies for maintaining and accelerating business. In this sense, they are truly the drivers of change in legal teams.

Below are a few ways legal operations are transforming legal departments in Europe.

Using Data

Data is often an underutilized asset in legal departments. In general, legal departments have difficulty either targeting the right data or lack the right tools to make productive use of analytics. Legal ops teams are able to use data to identify opportunities and streamline the functions of the legal department. ­By setting and tracking the right KPIs, the team is able to measure performance more effectively and choose the best course of action.

Information & Documentation Management

To continue, in-house counsels frequently put themselves at risk by incorrectly or loosely managing information.  Legal operations teams create and implement strict guidelines when it comes to storing and sharing sensitive information.

Budgeting

Another reality of in-house legal teams is a lack of a clear strategy with budgeting. One of the main missions for legal operations is to create a sustainable approach to financial management and maximize spending outcomes.  By optimizing resource utilization, legal ops teams can attribute to a 5% – 7% reduction in spending on average.

adopting the right Technology

One of the most essential missions of legal ops is uniting in-house legal departments with the right technology.  Legal ops can identify the best technological strategy possible, allowing the department to make more informed and calculated choices about how they provide services and tackle problems.

By investing in the right technology, legal teams can avoid risk more easily and speed up outdated internal processes. The legal industry in general is known to lag in terms of digitalization. This is why it is imperative for legal ops to act as a digital pioneer to bring the team up to speed in the digital transformation.

CROSS-FUNCTIONAL Alignment 

Another key mission of legal operations is uniting cross-functional teams in communication and strategy. Each department has a critical role to play in contributing to the overall success of the team. By having the right tech in place, legal ops makes collaboration between teams is more fluid and productive.

Additionally, the legal ops department delivers value by monitoring compliance, identifying growth opportunities, and uncovering hidden trends.

an indispensable asset for the legal digital transformation 

To conclude, legal operations is evolving quickly and becoming increasingly prevalent in Europe. This role, in the long-term, will transform legal departments to resemble most other modern businesses by bringing more adaptability, useful technology, and a stronger, more unified vision to in-house legal departments. Legal ops is becoming key for organizational success and delivering legal solutions and services with maximal value using modern technology, data, and a business-minded outlook.