60 days out: CLOC 2021 and user-centered design

Kara Wen | July 9, 2021 | Articles

With a mission to keep things simple for legal operations and in-house teams, it was no surprise that one of the key themes of CLOC 2021 was user-centered design – specifically how technology needs to be focused around the actual people doing the work.

The more intuitive and flexible your software is, the easier it is to adapt to all needs and fold into everyday work. With innovations like artificial intelligence, it’s easy to get caught up in refining solutions. But fancy software doesn’t mean anything if the user isn’t getting value out of the bells and whistles. Instead, legal ops and in-house teams should focus on three key areas:

1. Adopt software that frees up time

SimpleLegal was established with the goal of keeping legal technology simple. We are reinventing the way legal departments increase workflow capacity and efficiency to free up time for focus on value-driven work.

CLOC’s solution lab “How Legal Can Use Data to Be a Better Business Partner” emphasized the same message. Task automation tools that can easily be implemented into a business’s everyday work give legal operations time to show the benefits of their work, providing clarity and transparency to internal stakeholders.

By proving their value to the overall organization and other departments, legal operation teams will gain champions and credibility across groups.

2. Get to know your data source

Knowing your data source and owner—in most cases, your IT department— means you can obtain deeper insight into where your info is coming from and what you can do with it. Would you get started on writing an article without doing any background research? If you wouldn’t, then why would you build tools and reporting plans before getting data and background information?

Having someone who interacts with and interprets data differently from a legal ops professional can provide valuable information on how you can serve the organization. CLOC workshop “Dashboards that Optimize Results and Value” emphasized the value of thinking broadly. Beyond just serving legal departments, legal technology providers should also consider how the legal department interacts with other corporate departments.

At SimpleLegal, we’re constantly thinking about ways to provide value to corporate legal departments and allow them to work in tandem with other departments internally, like finance and procurement. We came away from this session with our belief reinforced that legal tech providers should have a growth mindset and be prepared for evolution of their product over time.

3. Identify key focus areas for growth and scale

As our VP of product and design so aptly stated, you can’t boil an ocean. You have to target areas to focus on. Once you’ve resolved key focus areas, you can then expand to solve other areas.

Painting a visual narrative opens avenues for communication. It is important for legal ops to be transparent with the general counsel and seek engagement. This is where reporting can be effectively used with a combination of dashboards and individual reports that can be scheduled for delivery into the general counsel’s inbox at regular intervals.

Our solution is already geared to assisting legal departments in their daily functions. But now we are taking it a step further and refining how legal ops align their tactical work with the strategic goals of the overall business.

Refining our thought process

In a rapidly shifting corporate environment, legal ops has proven it’s here to stay. Legal technology is not far behind either, keeping up with the rapid development pace as legal operations takes on broader responsibilities from managing risk to driving change internally.

We’re excited to rise up to these new challenges and what they mean for the future of legal ops and demonstrate the many benefits of user-centered design through our ever-evolving solution.

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