Evolution of Legal Ops - Why We Are Here

Over the past few weeks focus here has been on the evolution of legal operations. What drove its rise? There are many ways to bucket the factors, but I typically focus on four:

1. Cost considerations. Law firms have been imposing price increases well above measures of inflation for decades, which has increased the pressure on legal departments.

2. Disruptive technologies have driven two waves of change. The first was new communication technologies that allow legal advice to be given from anywhere—with few exceptions, we’re no longer tied to the notion of local practices. Later, the incursion of technology in the legal space gave rise to a need for greater understanding of those technologies and the ways they impact operations.

3.  New competition. Law firms now compete directly with corporate law departments for business. At Hearst, for example, roughly 60 percent of our legal spend is in-house. In addition, there are now alternative legal service models coming out of a variety of industries, including tech, accounting, consulting and staffing. So the share of external spend captured by firms has dropped significantly in the last 10 years.

These 3 factors contribute to the fourth: A sea change in client expectations for communication, convenience and technology tools. Scott Forman, Shareholder at Littler and I had a good conversation on this that can be found here: https://bit.ly/30paTkk. 

Ops in a Box, Legal Edition has tools to help you manage your outside counsel and spend from a sample metrics dashboard and global matter budget template to a Law Firm RFP template, proposal scorecards and an outline PowerPoint deck for presenting results.