All about legal ops: CLOC releases 2017 State of the Industry Survey

Lauren Lee | November 21, 2017 | Articles

Last week, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) released their First Annual State of the Industry Survey where more than one-third of CLOC member companies were polled to shed light on the continually evolving legal operations industry.

Quick Stats

The survey, which encompassed organizations from 30 states, 30+ industries, as well as Fortune 500 companies, exposed key statistics about internal and external legal spend:

  • $60M average external legal spend
  • $221K average internal spend per legal department
  • $607K average external legal spend per in-house attorney
  • .62¢ of every $1 spent on legal costs goes to external legal costs

e-Billing Emerges as Fundamental Tech for Legal Operations

As legal operations departments are being tasked with taking full ownership of growing internal and external legal spend budgets, legal e-Billing software has emerged as the foundational tool for tracking and managing where and how funds are allocated across projects, law firms, and vendors.

Connie Brenton, Chairman of the Board at CLOC and Senior Director of Legal Operations at NetApp, discusses the role of e-Billing for legal operations. “If you are starting up a group, or if you’re coming into a group, you need to be able to understand where your funds are being spent. Fiscal responsibility is at the top of the list, and [e-Billing] is always the first technology that goes in before any other technology.”

CLOC’s State of the Industry Survey highlights the value of e-Billing, reporting that 83% of respondents use an e-Billing system.

The high adoption rate of e-Billing and legal spend management systems makes sense given that e-Billing provides legal operations with total visibility into the details of what law firms are billing. And it is no surprise that CLOC members are seeing a higher adoption rate than others. The organization, which is focused on optimizing the delivery of legal services to businesses, attracts forward-thinking general counsel, legal operations leaders, and in-house professionals that strive to bring a more quantitative and strategic perspective to the legal department.

With pressure to be more data-driven, it’s clear that legal operations teams that adopt e-Billing can exercise more control over how matters are managed by outside counsel and better predict future costs to make strategic project, budget, and headcount decisions.

What Does the Future Hold for Legal Operations?

“This year’s data shows that while there is tremendous growth in legal operations, the field is still quite nascent,” shares CLOC’s Mary O’Carroll, who also holds the role of Head of Legal Operations at Google. “Adoption of new practices and new technologies are still in the beginning phases and there is a lot of fragmentation in the service provider space. This continues to be a incredibly dynamic and fast changing industry to be in.”

With an understanding that legal e-Billing systems haven’t always lived up to their promise of being easy-to-use and efficient, SimpleLegal has entered the legal technology space to provide legal operations with an e-Billing and legal spend management solution that supports the the reality of the way modern legal departments and attorneys work.

Not sure if your legal department is ready for e-Billing? Reach out to SimpleLegal and schedule a demo to learn more about our solution and features that would help you improve processes, save time, and contain costs.