January Digest: Current Legal Operations Trends and Industry News By Onit January 19, 2021 AI/ML,Business Process Management,ELM 4 Minute Read From COVID to cost-cutting, here are some of the leading industry articles on legal operations trends. This blog post represents a new monthly feature that shares the latest industry news for corporate legal and legal operations professionals. #1 Legal Ops May Still Struggle for a Seat at the Table in 2021 (source: Legaltech News) COVID has forced many professions to pivot in how they approach their jobs. Legal operations is no exception. In this article, experts share how 2020 will shape legal operations trends in 2021. Nick Whitehouse, GM of Onit’s AI Center of Excellence, discusses the importance of building smart processes and workflows to remove low-value work from in-house and the growing adoption of AI-enable contract lifecycle management, automated third-party contract reviews and document automation. Roycee Hasuko, director of product engagement for SimpleLegal, advocates for the importance of clean data and systems to convey business priorities and how remote working will require legal ops to continue investments in communications strategies and cross-functional collaboration. You can read the full article here. #2 Legal departments cut outside spending, focus on managers and specialists, study shows (source: ABA Journal) Legal departments have always been under pressure to cut costs, but last year has taken this to unprecedented new levels. The current pandemic has been responsible for the largest part of this pressure. This article examines legal operations trends uncovered by a Gartner survey, highlighting the fact that more legal spending (57%) is staying in-house compared to previous years, participants are expecting reductions in their budgets and 94% say their headcount will remain the same or be reduced. Find the full article here. #3 Forging Into The Unknown: How COVID-19 Has Already Changed Legal Department Budget Planning (source: Corporate Counsel) We always like to maintain a sense of optimism about getting back to normal after the pandemic, and rightfully so. But some believe that things in legal departments will get much more complicated before there’s a return to normalcy. Budgets are the topic of discussion in this article, from opinions on tweaking budgets from previous years, the role of analytics and “giving smarter haircuts.” The full text of the article is published here. #4 COVID-19 Proved the Value of Legal Operations In-House (source: Corporate Counsel) Despite COVID challenges, many forward-thinking legal ops professionals have made significant strides in finding ways to save money. This article looks at how these individuals have discovered new ways to use their existing technology instead of acquiring additional technology, as well as how they were able to smoothly transition from the office to home. You can read the article here. #5 Artificial Intelligence Trends Impacting Corporate Legal Departments (source: Reinventing Professionals) After ringing in the New Year, it’s that time again to examine current trends in our industry. Ari Kaplan of Reinventing Professionals recently interviewed Nick Whitehouse, general manager of Onit’s AI Center of Excellence. In this thought-provoking interview, they cover several aspects of AI and legal operations trends and how they translate to efficiency and savings for corporate legal. You can listen to the podcast here. Additional Resources for Legal Trends If you’re interested in more resources related to legal operations trends, here are some recommendations: To support our customers and colleagues in the legal operations field, Onit offers free Business Continuity Apps to support remote workers and their families that are sheltering at home. Interested in hearing more about how to trim spend? In our Virtual Legal Resourcing Debate with Buying Legal Council, three teams of legal professionals debate different approaches and their pros and cons. In this on-demand webinar, the legal operations team at Pearson shares how they radically transformed how they manage contracts, cutting costs annually by roughly 30%. We hope you find these articles helpful. We’ll return in February with another industry update on legal operations trends. 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