By Kristin Calve, publisher of Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

Last week, as I headed out to CLOC’s 2017 Institute, I had to wonder what to expect. In my many years in legal media, I’ve been to my fair number of events ­– but never to one for legal operations professionals. My husband (and our company’s co-founder), Joe Calve, interviewed Jeff Franke before the show, so I had a good sense of what the CLOC team hoped to achieve. Franke’s interview basically called for nothing short of a revolution!

This event – only the second annual meeting in the organization’s history – would bring together groups of people who have long been excluded and told, “No, we cannot do it that way.” Jeff Franke made it clear that he, Connie Brenton and Mary O’Carroll have decided not to wait for change to come. They are aiming high and working to make it happen now. So the real question as I headed out to Las Vegas was: Can they pull this off?

I spent most of my time at the Institute in sessions and talking to legal operations professional from all over the country. There were so many sessions it was difficult to choose. I had to split my time in order to see as many as possible. One thing was noticeably different about this event. The attendees were fully engaged in the content. They watched the presentations closely (not while texting and emailing) and asked very specific and thoughtful questions. Between sessions, attendees networked among themselves, compared notes on sessions and engaged with legal service providers in the exhibit hall. It genuinely felt like a community, which was surprising given how new it all is, and how many people remarked to me that this was their first year attending.

Another notable observation: Many law departments sent multiple people. Some companies sent three, four or even five people. That’s quite an investment!

By the end of my four days, I was convinced that CLOC is on to something big. I believe that they have created a genuine community. And since we were in Vegas, I’m willing to put down a bet. I say that before they’re done, they will succeed in changing the way many of us in the legal community do business. Any takers?

Click here to read the full text of Mary O’Carroll’s closing remarks.