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ANALYSIS: Senior Lawyers Are Responsible for Legal Ops Functions

June 18, 2020, 8:37 AM

Responsibility for the success or failure of legal operations rests primarily with senior attorneys, according to Bloomberg Law’s 2020 Legal Operations Survey results.

Nine out of 10 of the survey’s 490 law firm respondents told us that legal operations is directed by a partner, with almost two-thirds identifying a managing partner as the responsible individual. Only 2% of respondents identified legal operations professionals as directing legal operations.

Respondents from in-house legal departments, of which there were 98, identified general counsel as the responsible party more than half the time, followed by legal operations professionals.

Primary legal operations functions are crucial. So a failure to effectively manage or integrate legal operations into an organization could have a serious effect on the success of legal projects, and on the financial stability of the department or firm at large.

The top five legal operations functions identified by respondents of each organization type were as follows.
—Law Firms: billing, vendor management, records management, training, and procurement.
—In-House Legal Departments: outside counsel management, contract management, law department strategy, records management, and training.

How can organizations help ensure the success of legal operations? Make sure the appropriate individual is managing the function. Consider whether the responsible individual is comfortable enough with technology, data, and business practices to advance the goals of legal operations. Then ensure that those goals are treated as a priority by management, integrated effectively into the organizational culture, and backed by appropriate resources.

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