Business Pressures Put the Onus on Operations

When we launched the Law Department Operations Survey in 2008, indications were that law department operations managers were reaching beyond their own departments to take on new roles in other facets of the business.

With budgets remaining tight and the overall business environment becoming ever more complicated since then, we've seen that trend grow more pronounced in subsequent surveys. Law department operations managers have become increasingly integral strategic players within their organizations. And apparently they understand that they must use their unique skill sets in new ways to tackle their additional responsibilities. Case in point: Respondents to this year's survey, our fourth, say identifying opportunities for business improvement and cost savings is one of their greatest challenges.

Recently, several law department operations managers came together in Chicago to discuss results of the Fourth Annual Law Department Operations Survey and how they are identifying and implementing new opportunities. One way to do that is by pushing more commoditized work out to the businesses, so in-house counsel can focus on more strategic legal makers. But law department operations managers aren't just haphazardly throwing the work to businesspeople and expecting them to figure it out. They are playing an invaluable role by providing training, insight and structure to the management of these tasks, while serving as a bridge between legal and business. They bring the expertise and experience to systematize processes that are repeatable, defensible and auditable.

The survey has been developed once again by InsideCounsel and Blickstein Group, in consultation with an eight-member advisory board representing a range of Fortune 500 companies.

This unique survey focuses solely on the operations function and seeks to provide benchmarks that are useful to the largest law departments. As always, we rely on the survey findings to gauge the impact, trends and priorities of 21st century law department operations. Read on for a revealing and incisive look not only at where law department operations stand today, but where they're heading in the years ahead.

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