Survey Reveals Developing Trend in Legal Departments
According to the Thomson Reuters 2016 Legal Department In-Sourcing and Efficiency Report: The Keys to a More Effective Legal Department, more than 40 percent of legal departments indicated the top benefit of increasing efficiency is being able to focus on more strategic work, and many are turning to legal department operations professionals to enable them to be more strategic in how they advise the business.
The report explores a rise in hiring legal department operations professionals, changes in General Counsel/firm partnerships, and a growing reliance on new technologies. Conducted for a second consecutive year, the report surveyed 429 attorneys and operational professionals working in corporate legal departments and examines how in-house teams are managing internal and external resources to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.
The report reveals a rise in employing legal department operations (LDO) professionals in response to a backlash against the time-consuming administrative work facing legal departments. Many departments reported being besieged by the operational activities that come with being part of a corporation. Among the ways general counsel are addressing this is by employing LDOs to foster change.
“LDOs are managing outside counsel and employing legal managed services providers, as well as identifying and deploying new technologies across the legal department,” explained Haddad. “It’s an encouraging development in the legal profession. General counsel indicated a strong need to work more strategically, and bringing in LDO professionals to concentrate on business operations allows corporate counsel to focus on legal work and be more proactive and strategic in how they advise the business.”
The report findings underscore general counsels’ awareness of the need for greater innovation to improve efficiency and productivity. It also assesses how in-house teams are introducing efficiencies within their legal departments — across people, processes and technology — and are further redefining the in-house/outside counsel relationship.