In the not-so-distant past, legal operations was thought of as a field for people interested in administrating law offices (if it was thought of at all). However, in the past five years or so, the position has completely turned around and become extremely in-demand because of the myriad ways it has proven to improve legal process efficiency and service delivery in corporate legal departments.
One of the major catalysts for the upswing in legal operations careers is the information explosion that has affected all parts of legal. The steep increase in records and data attached to legal matters, and the cost of managing that increase, has resulted in a desperate need for dedicated professionals. While some legal ops professionals excel with more granular tasks among legal practice areas, the best of the bunch tend to be agile generalists who can multitask and take on a wide range of problems. This was a key theme of the session moderated by Onit’s Paige Edwards at Legaltech 2020. The session featured experienced legal ops professionals from Prudential, Purdue Pharma and Toyota.
As the practice of law and the business of handling an organization’s legal and regulatory matters becomes more multi-disciplinary and demanding, legal ops professionals must often be the bridge between people and technology. They often serve as interpreters between legal, IT and the business. Legal ops professionals are tasked with convincing executives that processes and/or technology need updating and overhauling. Sometimes the change can be costly and time consuming, and the best legal ops professionals are the ones that “wade through the tall grass and bring data” to prove that the change is worth it.
Legal ops professionals tend to be some of the most dedicated professionals in the legal industry, and their results speak for their tenacity. Some of the most notable professionals got their start from sitting in on meetings with the idea that they could do something better and faster and then having the courage to approach a manager or executive about their findings. If you think you have the skills to see legal matters on a big picture level, understand technology and have a drive for process efficiency, a career in legal operations might be a great fit.
If you’re interested in a legal operations career, or if you’re looking to hire and need a legal operations job description, check out this blog post from SimpleLegal.