Europe’s largest event focused on Corporate Legal Operations professionals was in full force earlier this week. With 250 attendees in 2018, the event has almost doubled in size to include 400 delegates this year. With some internal changes afoot in CLOC’s management we were assured in CLOC’s new President, Mary O’Carroll’s, opening remark that ‘we ain’t seen nothing yet’ in terms of their plans to grow the community on a global scale.
So what did we learn from the event?
Run your legal department like a business
Steve Harmon, Deputy General Counsel at Cisco presented on: ‘The Evolving role of the corporate legal department & the implications for the legal operations team’. Steve explained that the role of the in-house team is changing. No longer do legal departments need to solely drive processes, they need to drive results and run their department like a business.
This was a common theme that ran through many of the CLOC sessions. Royal Mail’s Maaike de Bie stressed in her panel session the importance of metrics for the in-house legal department in their journey from being seen as a ‘cost centre’ into a ‘revenue generator’ by demonstrating results to the business. We couldn’t agree with Maaike more! All Neota applications create data which in turn can be mined for insights on business volumes, process bottlenecks and issues.
Legal Services are evolving
Steve’s slide shown above its clear to see that legal services have been evolving. You can see Wave 1 outlining the digitizing of processes, metrics & dashboards and internal policy & process template standardisation. Things have not stepped up a notch in Wave 2 where transparency, digitization via rulesets, without human intervention (AI) is where we are now and if companies aren’t there yet its where they need to get to. He assured the audience that results from these systems are real! Wave 2 is where the Neota platform sits, digitising rulesets without human intervention to ensure legal expertise is both accessible and profitable.
Self-service automation is a must
Steve Harmon also explained it’s the job of the legal department to be a ‘gateway’ to facilitating the work of the business as opposed to a ‘gatekeeper’, enabling the business to perform more tasks in a legal and compliant manner. But how can lawyers do this today? There’s no possible way to keep up with the demand. Steve’s demonstrated the importance of self-service platforms to help automate many legal processes. He used the example of ‘NDA Automation’ (see below Steve’s slide illustrating the manual NDA process) as one of the basic legal processes that everyone should be addressing as a priority. Neota’s Perfect NDA template is a great example of this in practice. Read our Wesfarmers case study here.
But what tasks should you automate?
Royal Mail’s Maaike de Bie joined Sky’s Vicky Sandry and VMWare’s Aine Lyons on a panel discussion on: ‘Creating & maximising value of the legal ops function in a rapidly changing Legal Ecosystem’.
Tasks the panel classed as ‘Bronze’, meaning high volume and low-value tasks, are prime tasks to be automated. Tasks classified as ‘gold’, meaning higher value and more complex tasks, are what the legal department should focus their efforts on. Neota’s Michael Mills explains this in more depth in our blog on ‘Where the true value lies for self-service’.
The panel also noted that the legal department needs to look at how to do things differently in order to increase efficiencies. This means looking to new technologies and different vendors. This is something the Legal Operations role is critical in helping with.
Also, be very selective when deciding on which vendors you should work with. Businesses are under pressure to reduce the number of vendors they work with due to GDPR so you should look to a single provider that address the multiple needs and challenges of your business.
The panel mentioned you should ask other departments for help. One panel member described how they were able to get a secondment from their technology division to help with the strategy side of technology implementation and recommend that other businesses try to do the same.
Be in control of your own departmental strategy
Stephanie Hamon, Managing Director and Head of External Engagement at Barclays along with Royal Mail’s Maaike de Bie, Sky’s Vicky Sandry and VMWare’s Aine Lyons, all stressed the importance of coming up with your own departmental strategy to present to the business. If you fail to do this then its highly likely that one will be enforced on you!
For those of you who attended the event we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. For those who missed the event, we hope this has given you an overview of what was discussed. Neota Logic mapped examples from our selected applications to CLOC’s core competencies which you can either build yourself or our existing clients have built for you to use as a service. Read more here.