4 Examples of Legal Operations Jobs to Help Build Your Team

Lauren Lee | October 20, 2020 | Blog Posts

Hiring legal operations professionals is kind of a big deal for many legal teams. It means you’re looking to optimize outdated processes, streamline operations, and increase efficiencies within your department and with teams across your organization.

A key differentiator of a legal operations professional is their business management experience. Unlike other roles within the legal department, a law degree is not required to be successful. Instead, legal operations jobs require people who are:

  • Business-minded. This role will heavily influence operations and efficiency, as well as how the legal department interacts with vendors and other departments within your organization. You want someone with the business chops to not only shield the company from risk but also ensure the legal department’s goals feed into overall company growth.
  • Strategic. Legal operations professionals need to be strategic partners to general counsel. This should be someone who will help design a strategic roadmap that addresses process changes, technology adoption, and internal/external collaboration. Strategic thinkers should see the bigger picture and be capable of planning how the legal department will continuously evolve.
  • Data-driven. The best strategy is driven by data, making it essential for any potential legal operations candidate to be comfortable diving into the numbers. Legal operations functions also work in-step with finance to prepare month- and year-end budgets, provide accrual data, and ensure compliance with financial requirements and SOX, so data analysis is a must-have characteristic.

If you aren’t sure how to hire for legal operations jobs, don’t worry. Below are some sample job descriptions to help you understand the type of candidates to recruit and what to look for in their work.

Legal Operations Manager

A legal operations manager, also called a “legal operations director,” manages and supports a full range of projects for the legal team. These projects include taking care of outside counsel and vendors, overseeing the legal department’s budget, and fulfilling the legal department’s staffing needs.

A sample legal operations manager job description would look like this:

Background

We are seeking a highly motivated and detail-oriented individual to join our growing legal team. The legal operations manager will work closely with the general counsel and business stakeholders at all levels of the company. As our legal operations manager, you will be key in creating processes and practices to improve the day-to-day efficiency and effectiveness of the legal team, facilitate change, and control costs.

This is a generalist role that involves managing and supporting projects across the full range of subject matter supported by the legal team. You must be able to adapt to changing priorities and business needs, and must be proactive in identifying areas of need and generating action plans.

Responsibilities

  • Define and drive strategic and operational initiatives with on-time and on-budget results
  • Report on key operational and substantive metrics for the practice group that will better inform decision-making, including matter and work product analyses
  • Identify and implement legal department tools to streamline new or existing practices, as well as managing design, rollout, and training for new systems
  • Develop and enforce processes and policies to manage outside counsel usage and spend
  • Assist with budget matters and optimizing workflows within the legal department
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams including sales, support, service, business development, regulatory, IT, and finance, as well as various business units

Requirements

  • BA or BS required
  • 3+ years of experience with legal project operations and management in-house or at a law firm (both preferred)
  • Prior experience developing playbooks and policies
  • Demonstrated ability to independently move projects forward by gaining the support needed from others while working in a cross-functional role
  • Proven track record of collaborating with groups (e.g., finance, operations, sales, IT) to set objectives and produce meaningful results
  • Strong experience in developing, implementing, and using legal department technology solutions (e.g., SimpleLegal e-Billing and matter management, IPfolio IP management, DocuSign e-signature)
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills
  • Able to thrive in a fast-paced environment and successfully manage multiple deadlines

Download a PDF copy of the legal operations manager job description

Legal Operations Specialist

A legal operations specialist typically works under the legal operations manager to complete similar functions related to outside counsel, vendors, and other staff needs.

A sample legal operations specialist job description would look like this:

Background

We are seeking a legal operations specialist for our growing legal team. You will work side-by-side with our legal operations manager to help create processes and practices to improve the day-to-day efficiency and effectiveness of the legal team, facilitate change, and control costs.

This is a generalist role that involves managing and supporting projects across the full range of subject matter supported by the legal team. You must be adaptable and proactive in identifying areas of need and generating action plans.

Responsibilities

  • Help the legal operations manager to define and drive strategic and operational initiatives with on-time and on-budget results
  • Assist in identifying and implementing legal department tools to streamline new or existing practices, as well as managing design, rollout, and training for new systems.
  • Help enforce processes and policies to manage outside counsel usage and spend
  • Assist the legal operations manager with budget matters and optimizing workflows within the legal department
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams including sales, support, service, business development, regulatory, IT, and finance, as well as various business units

Requirements

  • BA or BS required
  • 1–2 years of experience with legal project operations and management in-house or at a law firm (both preferred); clerical experience also preferred
  • Experience developing forms, processes, and policies
  • Ability to move projects forward by gaining support from stakeholders
  • Proven track record of collaborating with cross-functional groups to set objectives and produce results
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills
  • Support and handle a variety of ad hoc projects within the team as they arise
  • Able to thrive in a fast-paced environment and successfully manage multiple deadlines

Download a PDF copy of the legal operations specialist job description

Legal Operations Analyst

A legal operations analyst examines the legal team’s regular operations to identify opportunities for improvement and help implement those changes.

In this role, you will identify and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to oversee department performance. You will be expected to create custom reports that help the entire team supervise resource allocation and help forecast future needs.

A sample legal operations analyst job description would look like this:

Background

We are seeking a skilled legal operations analyst to take charge of reporting and data management for our legal team. The position will work closely with our legal team to identify opportunities for improvement and help implement those changes.

As a legal operations analyst, you will develop playbooks and processes, generate reports, and implement data-driven strategies to control costs, forecast resource and budget needs, and monitor internal and external resource performance.

Responsibilities

  • Develop reports and processes to monitor people, processes, and spend throughout the legal department
  • Present data to finance and accounting departments that explains, categorizes, and justifies legal department spend
  • Identify opportunities to streamline processes and use the legal department budget more efficiently
  • Develop and monitor the legal team’s contract lifecycle management process
  • Create legal billing guidelines and manage billing matters
  • Provide technical and training support for new legal department hires
  • Collaborate with teams, including sales, customer support, IT, finance, and accounting

Requirements

  • BA or equivalent work experience
  • 2+ years of experience in the contract field, contracts administration, or legal operations
  • Experience with legal analytics and legal terminology
  • Proficient in business applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, document management systems, and legal enterprise software
  • Ability to work with multiple data sets in order to make informed recommendations; experience with business intelligence tools is preferred
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills

Download a PDF copy of the legal operations analyst job description

Director of Legal Operations

The director of legal operations reports directly to general counsel and is the highest-ranking member of the legal operations team. As director of legal operations, your job is to oversee the entire legal ops team, taking on tasks such as staff and resource allocation, as well as leadership initiatives.

A sample director of legal operations job description would look like this:

Background

We are seeking a director of legal operations who will manage the business strategy and operational processes for the legal department. As the director of legal operations, you will be responsible for duties related to change management, technology and process decisions, and budget allocation.

While this role will report to general counsel, we are looking for someone who will serve as a strategic advisor and feel comfortable sharing ideas. You should feel confident in your problem-solving and project management abilities and be able to communicate effectively with the entire legal ops team.

Responsibilities

  • Design and oversee strategy for the legal department to ensure operational efficiency
  • Set specific quarterly and annual goals and initiatives for the legal department
  • Take charge of all change management planning and communication
  • Assess and make purchasing decisions for legal technology software and tools
  • Supervise spend management and handle budget and resource allocation accordingly
  • Develop and implement internal process guidelines, templates, and workflows
  • Work closely with general counsel to select outside law firms and negotiate alternative fee arrangements, billing guidelines, and the overall partnership between vendors and legal ops

Requirements

  • BA or BS required, MBA or JD preferred
  • 8+ years experience in a legal department, law firm, or relevant operational management role
  • Financial background with an eye for analytics, as well as the ability to work closely with the finance and accounting departments
  • Strong leadership communication and management skills
  • Tech-savvy and well-versed in legal enterprise software, tools, and applications, proficient in legal spend and matter management tools such as SimpleLegal
  • Demonstrated ability to use change management practices to facilitate transitions related to technology, processes, and people

Download a PDF copy of the director of legal operations job description

Hiring for Legal Operations Jobs

Hiring for legal operations jobs is a big step for your company, whether you are expanding your team or building a new one. We want to help you take out some of the guesswork and the risks of making a bad hire. Modify any of the job descriptions above to fit your needs and team structure.

Also, don’t forget to get your copy of Legal Operations 101: A Blueprint for Modern Legal Departments to give you all of the additional information you need to build or expand your legal ops team.