CLOC 2021 Rewind: Attending a legal ops virtual conference for the first time

Kara Wen | May 19, 2021 | Articles

Last week, CLOC hosted their second virtual CLOC Global Institute. They struck a great balance between building up the atmosphere to mimic an in-person event and taking advantage of the benefits of a virtual set up.

The workshop sessions were particularly engaging– an impressive accomplishment when screen fatigue is a real possibility with so many events gone virtual and countless Zoom meetings. Some chats delved into tangential subjects that added depth to the current topics presenters were talking about and others just had fun.

As a first time CLOC attendee and not 100% certain of what to expect, here’s what I learned in those four days.

Accessible resources to personalize your experience

I was pleasantly surprised by how accessible the event was in its virtual format. Sessions that a newcomer might be intimated to attend are easy to hop into. The entry portal is well organized, making it easy to navigate back and forth between the overall schedule and a personalized schedule.

If you miss the live sessions, the On Demand section is quick about getting recordings up. The recorded videos are available until August 11, a rare accommodation for virtual events So if you ever want to refer back to a particularly interesting session (of which there were many!), you have plenty of time for that.

One area that was a little confusing to navigate was the legal resources center. For me personally, clicking into each sponsor name to reveal the offered resources was a little tedious because I didn’t know what was being offered. But nevertheless, CLOC 2021 Global Institute was highly accommodating and provided content that was valuable to where I am in my legal ops journey.

Engaging live sessions

As you enter a live session, a themed title screen with the topic appears first. For anyone who relies on visual cues for meetings (e.g. automatic calendar notifications, which I have a deep appreciation for), the distinct appearance separates the next session from the session before.

Chat and Q&A submissions were located to the right of the video stream. The separation between the two was a great idea as organic discussions were held in chat while questions could be presented to the presenters through a dedicated Q&A section.

The “CLOC Workshop: Advancing the Strategic Direction of Legal Operations within Your Department” crowd was particularly active with fun emoji-filled messages in the chat. This chat also delved a bit into the history of legal tech history in tangent to the video stream, prompting a more interactive discussion between the live speakers and chat members.

Out of all the sessions I attended, these factors were most accommodating for first-time attendees:

  • Sessions that had the presenters displayed on the screen at all times
  • Sessions that used title descriptors that were collaborative in nature (e.g. workshop, networking)
  • Sessions that had speakers who address questions in both the live stream and in chat, prompting more organic conversational flow (“Session: Real World Applications of AI and Data Analytics” presenters handled this multitasking extremely well!)

Final takeaways

Conversations that people could only dream of participating in before were more readily accessible in this virtual setting. Attendees came from all over the world– I saw legal operations professionals and general counsel from India, Finland, and Australia, among many other countries.

A virtual event is what you make of it; you have to actively engage to get the value you want from it. I enjoyed my first CLOC event – there was a great positivity and even humor throughout the conference. No doubtedly, the role of legal ops is continuing to expand in today’s fast paced world.

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