In December 2013, InsideCounsel published the Sixth Annual Law Department Operations Survey, a project on which we have been collaborating since its inception. When we launched the survey in 2008, law department operations was a much less mature function that many barely knew existed. In the years since, however, the operations function has gained respect and many general counsel expect their “LDO” (an abbreviation that did not exist when we started) to deliver process, efficiency and cost savings to the law department.
The rise of the LDO, such as it is, has been caused primarily by two big changes in the legal function. First, the crash of 2008 led to more cost pressure than ever before—in many cases for the first time ever. Time will tell to what extent the “new normal” has staying power, but increased cost pressure has created an environment where law departments value process, technology and procurement, all of which are in the sweet spot of LDO.