Inside the rise of law department operations

“The rise of operations in legal departments” is one of 2014's biggest trends in the legal industry

Five years ago, if you were looking for an example of a business practice “center of excellence,” you would likely not have turned to an in-house legal department. Would you find smart people? Absolutely. But eye-catchingly progressive systems for creating compelling visions and goals, hiring, training and retaining talent, building powerful cultures, operating efficiently and measuring performance? Not so much.

Change, however, is already underway. In a recent statement predicting the biggest trends in the legal industry in 2014, Matt Fawcett, general counsel of NetApp, identified, “The rise of operations in legal departments” as one of those trends. He noted a dramatic increase in the number of legal operations positions created by general counsel in order to “realize the benefits and efficiencies of running the department more like a business.” So what is happening and how do you jump on the bandwagon?

Connie Brenton

Connie Brenton is chief of staff and director of legal operations at NetApp. Email her at

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