Driving disruption in legal operations

This article originally appeared on GlobeNewswire.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SimpleLegal, a modern legal operations platform offering e-Billing and spend management, matter management and analytics software, in partnership with Onit, a global leader of enterprise workflow solutions for legal, compliance, sales, IT, HR and finance departments today released the Driving Disruption in the Legal Department white paper. The white paper covers how corporate law departments will be the primary driver of innovation and change in the legal industry and the recent rapid growth of the legal operations function in corporate law departments with legal operations professionals leading the charge.

Co-authored by Nathan Wenzel, CEO of SimpleLegal, and Eric M. Elfman, CEO of Onit, the white paper provides a wealth of insight into the evolving area of legal operations and how the expansion of legal operations professionals is moving past matter and spend management and the selection of counsel to a more evolved strategic role.

“Back in the 1980s, there weren’t many professionals in the legal operations role, so it was decades before there was enough to study,” said Nathan Wenzel, CEO of SimpleLegal. “However, by 2008 there was a growth in the legal department operations profession and a survey conducted by the Blickstein Group showed that respondents found that the only organizations available for legal operations professionals were informal roundtables.”

Despite the contributions from the legal operations pioneers from the 1980s to the 2010s, legal operations, as a discipline, was obviously underrepresented.

In 2016, the biggest amount of growth evidenced in the legal operations profession was the expansion in membership of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) – which had just a few hundred attendees when it launched its first annual conference. Today, CLOC stands at more than 2,300 members from approximately 1,100 companies.

Wenzel continued, “CLOC’s influence, combined with the amazing work of industry thought leaders from companies such as Google, Workday, and Baker & McKenzie to publicize and build credibility for legal operations, continues to drive interest for the role and has led us to review this segment’s growth in our published whitepaper.”
A key finding in the Driving Disruption in the Legal Department white paper reveals that according to the 2018 Law Department Operations Survey, more than 20 percent of responding companies added their first legal operations professional within the past two years and 40 percent were added within the past five.

Driven by legal operations professionals, the white paper contends that legal departments will continue to evolve in terms of improving spend management and the selection of counsel, the collaboration and enhancement of better contract management, and the strategic design to effectively align with other business units. The biggest shift, however, will be the fundamental disruption in a new worldview where the law department is no longer considered special and, like other business departments, relies on process, technology, and data.

According to Eric M. Elfman, CEO, Onit, “The future of legal operations is bright and full of growth potential.”

With legal operations professionals evolving into more strategic roles, co-authors Wenzel and Elfman further forecast seven predictions for the future of legal operations as follows:

Legal operations professionals will continue to take on administrative burdens in order to let lawyers be lawyers;
Law departments will work to untangle overcomplexity in their enterprise legal management systems;
The use of collaboration and workflow tools will continue to grow as the legal function becomes more global and complex;
More will be expected of technology vendors, and law departments will less frequently integrate tools and instead build platforms that handle multiple functions seamlessly;
Legal ops professionals will engage more closely and directly with their companies’ businesses units, with a focus on turn time and customer satisfaction;
Law departments will build expertise to match the pricing experts that have become commonplace in law firms and;
Legal ops professionals and in-house counsel must get better at data and analytics to make better decisions to behave more like business units while better serving their clients.
Read the full whitepaper here.

About SimpleLegal

SimpleLegal provides a modern legal operations management platform that streamlines the way corporate legal departments manage their matters, track and interpret spend, and collaborate with vendors and law firms. SimpleLegal combines e-Billing and spend management, matter management, vendor management, and reporting and analytics into one comprehensive application to optimize legal operations and the management of the entire legal department. The company, founded in 2013, is privately held and located in Mountain View, California. For more information, visit www.simplelegal.com.

About Onit

Onit is a global leader of enterprise workflow solutions for legal, compliance, sales, IT, HR and finance departments. Our solutions transform best practices into smarter workflows, better processes and operational efficiencies. With a focus on enterprise legal management, matter management, spend management, contract management and legal holds, we operate globally and help transform the way Fortune 500 companies and billion-dollar legal departments bridge the gap between systems of record and systems of engagement. We help customers find gains in efficiency, reduce costs and automate transactions faster. For more information, visit www.onit.com.

Media Contact:
Paul Wilke
Upright Communications
[email protected]