How to build the foundation of your legal operations team the right way
Without question, the role of “legal operations professional” is a growing field among corporate legal departments.1 However, with more companies hiring individuals to perform specific legal operations roles,2 there are still a large number of corporate legal departments that do not have a legal operations team.3 For general counsel looking to build a legal operations team, or those that would like to improve the abilities of their current team, this article lays out a six-step approach to successfully develop, structure, and grow a legal operations function.
Step 1: Develop Your Vision
Start with your strategy. Identify the benefits you expect your business to realize by making the investment in legal operations. Consider these four benefits as a starting point:
Many legal departments report that, while their workloads are increasing, their annual budgets are remaining flat. This trend amplifies the need for a legal operations team to facilitate more efficient legal processes within the company. Many companies find that better legal processes result in significant ROI and significantly improve the delivery of legal services to the business.
As regulatory complexity increases (including the potential for personal liability among corporate officers for regulatory breaches), compliance is no longer a legal department issue; it is a challenge that needs to be addressed across the business. Enter one key legal operations function: knowledge management. The role of knowledge management is to “(e)nable efficiencies by creating seamless access to legal and department institutional knowledge through the organization and centralization of key templates, policies, processes, memos, and other learnings.”4
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