Lisa Konie, director of legal operations counsel, Adobe Systems
Just because someone excels at doing the critical tasks of a department doesn't necessarily make him or her qualified to manage that department. In legal, that means advanced understanding of the law doesn't always translate to success overseeing the minutia of the department, and that often star attorneys are best left to practicing law.
The ability to handle the selection of technology, management of processes, efficiencies, training and outside counsel has become key to the success of law departments. Increasingly, that has meant hiring a dedicated legal department operations (LDO) executive.
Point of the pyramid
Regardless of what path the proto-LDO took to arrive at its modern incarnation, one thing is certain: Few positions have the same ability to shape the policies, processes and technologies driving today's legal department. Operations executives can often see what's best for their department and the organization itself. Having insight into the needs of the greater corporate community presents an opportunity for LDO managers to shape their organizations in a way others cannot.