When I got back from CLOC last month, I was amazed at the various roles and responsibilities shouldered by legal operations staff. Still one of the fastest growing roles in legal departments, the responsibilities often assigned to these teams are varied and all over the map in terms of impact on the business, not just the legal department.
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CCBJ: Akin Gump has been recognized by the Financial Times for its work in compliance and technology. What led to that recognition?

Thomas McCarthy: Beginning over a decade ago, there was an upswing in enforcement trends by the U.S. government in areas that affected our clients – particularly export controls, sanctions and anticorruption.
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Jonah Paransky of Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions explains how law departments will deliver value with operational rigor. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: How has the corporate legal department’s role expanded beyond its traditional responsibilities?

Jonah Paransky: There are several key items worthy of notice. The first is there’s been a sea change in expectations for how corporate legal departments will operate.
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For the first time in some years, law departments are anticipating bigger budgets, and they plan to put that money to work in-house. That’s bad news for outside counsel, who continue to sit squarely in the crosshairs of spend-conscious general counsel and their ops squads, who, despite their growing budgets, plan to cut outside counsel’s share from 40% to 36%.                              
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Thanks to ongoing technological improvements to enterprise legal management software, in-house operations are more efficient than ever. Dan Ruderman of LexisNexis CounselLink has worked in this space for decades and has seen the ways the broad implementation of legal spend management systems have helped attorneys become more focused – and helped law departments bring down their overall costs. His remarks have been edited for length and style.
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Interview with A. Carter Arey / McGuireWoods

A. Carter Arey is a senior counsel at McGuireWoods who co-leads the firm’s ClientSync team. Her focus is on legal project management (LPM), which is designed to help the lawyers deliver what their corporate clients want: quality legal services, pricing and predictability that they can understand and plan around. The interview has been edited for length and style.


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