Three Surveys of Interest for Legal Operations Management Professionals

Data is the cornerstone of operations, which is why this blog post focuses on three surveys of particular interest for legal operations management professionals.

Data, Business Strategy and Higher Profitability 

In the 20th Global C-Suite Study, IBM surveyed more than 13,000 C-suite executives around the world to learn more about their organizations’ use of data and how they drive value from it. The study identified four stages of the data journey, including highly sophisticated Torchbearers who have aligned their data strategy with their business strategy, and Aspirationals, those who are just beginning to capture and explore the value of their data.

Unsurprisingly, the Torchbearers lead all other levels in revenue growth, profitability, innovation and managing change.

How do they manage this? The study provides numerous details, but one area in particular is especially helpful. To gather, share and eventually drive better business performance with data, Torchbearers adopt and extend their business platforms to external parties like partners and customers. It provides this example: “A platform that links real estate agents, home inspectors, insurers, and mortgage lenders, for example, puts the customer at the center of a more seamless experience.”

This approach can be replicated with similar success within the microcosm of corporate legal. With a unified, intuitive platform, corporate legal can collaborate across the enterprise (marketing, sales, R&D, HR and more) and outside of it with law firms, legal service providers and other stakeholders. Not only is the level of support and responsiveness enhanced, but legal operations are collecting valuable data to analyze for performance, spend and more.

Modernizing Legal Service Delivery

The 2020 Legal Operations Survey from Deloitte found that 86% of in-house counsel see “an opportunity to modernize legal services provided to their stakeholders.” However, they still have obstacles to overcome, such as a high-volume of time spent handling manual tasks (71%) and a lack of metrics to provide insight into completed work for in-house lawyers and external parties.

Legal operations professionals might find this data point especially interesting:

“77% of respondents felt their legal systems were not integrated with a consistent data taxonomy to allow for visibility into workflows and real-time data.”

The Pandemic Proves Just How Valuable Legal Operations Management Professionals Are to Their Employers

A new survey covered by shows the pandemic’s effect on corporate legal.  Altman Weil’s survey gathered responses from more than 100 CLOs, finding that 66% of them say the pandemic has decreased their companies’ revenues. Unsurprisingly, 44% say they will reduce 2021 budgets. A decrease in money correlates with these data points:

  • One-third said they have requested additional discounts from law firms
  • 11% said their law departments had to lay off employees
  • 77% said their workloads have increased

One bright spot: Legal operations professionals are invaluable during times like these and law departments recognize this. The survey found that:

“None of the CLO participants reported that their companies had laid off a legal operations manager during the past year. Meanwhile, 75% of legal departments with 50 or more lawyers had at least one legal operations manager in the house and half of all CLOs said they had someone in that role in their department … ”

Investing in legal operations has been an ongoing trend. For example, the CLOC 2020 State of the Industry Report found that:

The size of Legal Operations functions has continued to increase through a combination of full-time employees (FTEs) and contractors as teams demonstrate more impact.


Legal operations management professionals continue to approach their data-driven discipline with innovation. Here are three examples.

  • The Onit Hack the House hackathon, where they had three weeks to create Apps that address critical business challenges across IP, HR, compliance and more. (Voting on the winning App is open to everyone, by the way. Your vote enters you for a chance to win an electric scooter. The link also includes demos.)
  • Three teams of legal operations experts debated the best way to control costs for a fictional corporate legal department. You can see who won here.
  • The Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference featured a presentation with a head of legal operations, a partner for an AmLaw 200 law firm and a Legal Lean Sigma expert to explain how they worked together to create stronger relationships and results. You can read more about that here.

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