The message in the opening remarks was clear: Despite recent leadership changes – not to mention a certain amount of backstage drama – the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium is more committed than ever to their movement and taking it further faster. They will continue to fuel change and provide resources to their members to help them do their jobs better, while looking to narrow the divide among constituents in law firms, law schools and others that may be speaking different languages.
Don’t be fooled – CLOC’s Vegas Institute is not exclusively for ops professionals. Naturally, key stakeholders include the CLOC leadership and members, but the event also draws a significant number of law firm professionals – with over 125 firms sending representatives – including partners, client relations executives, pricing specialists and marketing executives. Legal service providers, including staffing companies, contract management and e-discovery solutions and ALSPs were present in full force as well. This year the Institute boasted 2,200 registered attendees, 108 speakers and 103 exhibitors. Not surprisingly, EY Law & PwC were counted among the top-level sponsors. And 17 law firms – including Akin Gump, Baker McKenzie, Eversheds, Orrick, and Seyfarth Shaw – were listed among the exhibitors and supporters . . . just to mention a few.
The GCs Behind the Ops Pros
The GC panel, moderated by Jason Barnwell, AGC of Microsoft Corporation, featured Dorian Daley, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Oracle Corporate; Julie Gruber, EVP, Global General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer of Gap, Inc.; and Nigel Bond, General Counsel, Wealth, Australian Banking & Technology of Westpac. All three spoke to the development and their continued support of robust legal operations functions. Their advice to those looking to develop legal ops functions was simple – prove it out with easy successes and realize that a dedicated legal ops function allows you to break down processes and rebuild them, as opposed to attempting to fix processes as a side job. All agreed that having people dedicated to refining processes allows them to perform better in their roles as GCs.
In the fireside chat with select members of the CLOC Board, a few themes were clear. CLOC deems itself a unique community in that members are unified by passion, not common background, skill sets or personality types. They are clearly dedicated to looking to continuously drive change and improve people and processes.
When asked what they look for in hiring for their legal ops teams, board members mentioned several key traits – a growth mindset, EQ, can do attitudes, passion, curiosity, good judgement, a customer service mindset, and a thick skin. All of which sound like traits needed to start an organization like CLOC and grow it at such a fast pace.
Three key things to look for over the coming year. First, CLOC announced a new membership portal that will offer more ways to get answers to questions, including webinars and calls. Second, the organization will be rolling out a new membership category for law firms in the spirit of helping law firms navigate the new world order. Last, CLOC has partnered with member organizations Clifford Chance LLP, CMS, Greenberg Traurig LLP, and Pangea3 to launch a multiphase initiative titled “It’s [About] Time: Defining the Future of Legal Services Delivery.” The initiative will assess “the evolution of collaboration and engagement for the benefit of legal services consumers.”
Sounds like a major challenge – right up CLOC’s alley.