March 1, 2019
Legal Ops Can Transform the Practice of Law, but Only if Everyone Embraces It
Catherine J. Moynihan
We’re on a mission.
 
ACC Legal Operations seeks not only to support the advancement of corporate legal operations professionals, but also to advocate for the ops function. As legal ops grows, we know many general counsels are wondering – should I add a dedicated legal ops unit?  And those who have one wonder, am I going about this the right way? From a vantage point with a view across legal departments, we can see that best practice is to have a well-structured and well-empowered legal ops function, characterized by the head of ops having a seat at the GC’s leadership table, spearheading initiatives with the conspicuous backing of the GC. At ACC, we have the ear of general counsel and we’re using it.
 
At every Annual Meeting, a gathering of 4,000 in-house counsel, ACC Legal Operations hosts sessions on best practices in leveraging the chief legal operations officer (CLOO) role, and lately, the ACC Maturity Model. We also publish articles in the CLO Executive Bulletin and the Docket Online (which reaches 45,000 in-house counsel), featuring impactful working relationships between CLOs and CLOOs.  The resource library also features a collection of profiles: Legal Operations: Leading Practices in Implementing Strategy, Leading Change, and Advancing Law Department Excellence – chock full of quotes from GCs about the pivotal role of their ops leaders. One of my favorites, from the GC of HPE, “If I were sitting down with a new GC, on the top of my list of recommendations would be to establish a legal operations unit. And once they have it, to make sure the person who runs it is one of the best players on the team.”  
 
There’s more coming up. This issue of the Legal Ops Observer notes that we’re joining in-house counsel leaders at the Xchange – an opportunity to not only learn from legal ops peers, but also to showcase our know-how. And check out the piece on this year’s benchmarking study, providing a metrics-based opportunity to show the impact of legal ops. 
 
But right now we’re most excited about a recent ACC Docket magazine article: Legal Ops Can Transform the Practice of Law, but Only If Everyone Embraces It.  This article embodies a core value that the ACC works to disseminate every day: That legal ops pros are key to a more efficient, effective organization. 
 
Please read and share it with your colleagues, and we look forward to stories of your own successful transformation, one legal ops group at a time. 
 
The ACC Docket article was authored by Catherine J. Moynihan, the associate vice president of legal management services at the Association of Corporate Counsel, and Rachel M. Zahorsky, the director of marketing at Novus Law LLC. 
 
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2019 Conference Preview
By Sam Ranganathan, Chair, ACC Legal Operations
Have you caught on that this year’s legal operations conference has a new name? The ACC Xchange is designated for advancing legal executives (I hope you noticed the double-entendre). 
 
You can connect with your ops-focused peers, and with in-house counsel in management roles, for advanced, interactive sessions. The curriculum is designed to help you progress in your career; and hone skills and know-how to help the legal department advance as well. 
 
Enhancing Your Leadership Profile
I served on the advisory board for this conference so it's no surprise that I’m excited 
about the program we puttogether, fueled by ideas across the ACC network. Further disclosure is that I am serving on the team teaching a session on “Boosting Your Team Brand; Leveraging the Power of Metrics to Deliver Value and Drive Engagement.” As a metrics geek who’s also keen on the power of KPIs and marketing to influence behavior, I commit to providing practical guidance to help you move the needle. 
 
And while it’s true that any time we gather legal operations leaders, we share helpful techniques for change management in every session – this conference also has a session entirely devoted to “What You Can Do to Lead Change;” as well as a workshop on “Getting Things Done; Prioritizing and Implementing Initiatives.” And it’s not all about organizational leadership, there’s also a session on “Personal Branding for Legal Executives” to get you moving on buffing your LinkedIn profile, networking agenda and social media skills. 

Sharpening Your Legal Operations Chops
We all grew up in legal operations learning from each other – the remit is so broad!  So, this conference continues the traditions of starting with the pre-conference boot camp to help the newbies get in shape fast, connecting newcomers with veteran ACC Legal Ops member “buddies” at the opening reception, gathering for Interest Group meetings to build relationships with like-minded peers, and closing with a session in which we share “ah ha” moments gleaned over course of the event and discuss (as the session title indicates), “Big Changes in the Industry and Implications for Legal Operations Professionals.” 
 
There are too many ops-focused programs to mention in this space, so do look at this curated list of sessions. For example, if you’ve been meaning to get around to putting design thinking to work, don’t miss that workshop. And you’ll see that we took care to balance among the main focus areas for legal ops leaders - internal resource management, technology (including putting AI to work), financial management and process improvement.  
 
Tell Your In-House Colleagues
As a vector for new ideas, methodologies and information in your legal department, you know that this is a conference your leadership-minded teammates will want to attend - so help spread the word! From the opening keynote on how to use “the Credibility Code” to transform your career (from Carol Hale Alter) through the lunchtime “Solutions Hub” when you can design your own program, weaving among Tech Talks and pop-up roundtables, and on to the program on “Unconscious Bias,” there’s much to learn – there’s even a session in which litigators will help their would-be GC corporate counsel peers understand how to manage that function. 
 
Bring a friend, bring a colleague – see you there!  
 
Sam

Sam Ranganathan is the senior director, legal operations at Abbvie and spends most of his days devising innovative ways to make legal functions more efficient. He is also currently working to build an Information Governance program that ensures proactive management of data risks. Previously the was the head of legal operations at Motorola Mobility where he built a legal operations team to support a newly formed public company. 
 
Ranganathan received a MS from University of Illinois at Chicago and a MBA the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. 
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Participate & Learn - Global Legal Department Benchmarking
We invite your company to participate in our most comprehensive global legal department benchmarking survey to date. The survey covers structure, staffing, spending, workload/allocation, outside counsel management, technology, and gives you the opportunity to score your department across several performance attributes. 
 
All participants will receive an exclusive report with over 150 metrics. By contributing your company data, you will support the growth of ACC’s expanded benchmarking offerings, providing insights on trends in legal department management - and you will gain the ability to compare your department's performance, leveraging the world's largest network of corporate legal departments.
 
The survey closes March 18th. If you would like to be designated to fill this survey out on behalf of your department, please let us know so we can make sure to send it directly to you. Please feel free to contact contact Blake E. Garcia, Ph.D., Senior Manager of Legal Benchmarking Services with the ACC, with any questions. 
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Nominations Open for the 2019 ACC Legal Operations Awards

Nominations are open for ACC Legal Operations Member, Interest Group and Professional/Team of the Year awards.

For the second year, the Steering Committee of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Legal Operations section will recognize members and teams for outstanding accomplishments on behalf of our organization and legal departments. 2018 Award Winner
 
Download nomination forms for the following three categories here: 
Submit nominations via email to LawDepartmentOps@ACC.com by March 31, 2019. Supporting statements from other members and colleagues, and exhibits such as links to articles or resources, are welcome. 
 
Awards will be presented at Xchange 2019 in April.
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Quick Survey: Help the Legal Ops Marketing Team Better Serve You!

surveyHave you had a chance to participate in the Subscriber Survey? 

Please take a few minutes and take this brief survey to help the ACC Legal Ops Marketing and Communications team understand what types of news, events, and materials assist you most in your Legal Operations role. A summary of findings and outcomes will be available in a future edition of the newsletter.

Thank you for your participation!

 

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Highlights from the ACC Legal Ops News & Announcements Page
The ACC Legal Ops News & Announcements tab tracks the best items to keep you well informed - following are some highlights from the news feed.
 

Corporate Legal Eagles Start to Embrace Artificial Intelligence
From Bain & Co., February 2019
Legal’s internal customers increasingly expect high-quality, convenient, fast and low-cost support. New digital technologies, especially artificial intelligence, offer tools to raise legal’s value to the business in workflow speed, accuracy and responsiveness. Yet legal still lags other functions, such as human resources and finance, in the adoption of artificial intelligence. A path to accelerated digital adoption involves identifying the biggest opportunities, investing in a portfolio of digital bets, and testing and learning to continually improve the experience.

The Future Is Bright for ACC Legal Operations
From the Corporate Counsel Business Journal, January February 2019
Senior Director of Legal Operations at AbbVie, Sam Ranganathan, takes the reins of ACC Legal Ops and shares his hopes and goals for the future of the group.

Experts Disagree on Who Leads the Way on Legal Tech—Law Firms or In-House Counsel
From Law.com, February 2019
Kevin Clem of HBR Consulting and Trevor Faure of Smarter Law Solutions say in-house law departments use the most cutting-edge legal technology, while Mark Yacano of Major, Lindsey & Africa says major law firms are leading the way. 

We are adding more hand-picked items all the time - be sure to bookmark or subscribe for updates at http://www.acc.com/legalops/news/.

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Upcoming Events


To view all upcoming events click here
 
Topic: Maturity Model Series – Compliance Webinar
Date: March 5 at 2:00 PM (ET)
Interest Group: ACC Legal Operations
Email lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend 
 
Topic: Reorganizing Legal Support Staff (VR)
Date: March 6 at 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Interest Group: Internal Resource Management Interest Group
Email lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend 
 
Topic: Establishing and Advancing Legal Operations Function
Date: March 12 at 1:00 p.m. (GMT) (Virtual Roundtable)
Regional Group:  Europe
Email lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend
 
Topic: Creating a Process Catalog
Date: March 12 at 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Interest Group: Project/Process & Knowledge Management
Email lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend 
 
Topics: Best-in-Class Legal Operations Department and Functional Assessments, and hot topic roundtable. Guest Speakers (Integreon and UpLevel Ops)
Date: March 12 from 9:00 – 2:00 p.m. (PST)
Regional Group: Southern California
Email: lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend
 
Topic: Diversity Program Scorecard - What metrics/measurements matter?
Date: March 14 at 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Interest Group: External Resource Management
Email lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend 
 
Topic: Alternative Fee Arrangements (VR)
Date: March 14 at 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Interest Group: External Resource Management
Email lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend 
 
Topic: Phase I: Dashboard Design, Integration, Implementation Process (Webinar)
Date: March 21 at 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Interest Group: Metrics & Analytics
Email lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend 
 
Topic: Best Use of Third Party for System Implementation (VR)
Date: March 26 at 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Interest Group: Tools and Technology
Email lawdepartmentops@acc.com to attend 
 
 
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How to Get More Involved in the ACC Legal Ops Community
There are many ways to get involved with and contribute to the ACC Legal Operations community and raise your professional profile. We would love to hear your ideas, learn and collaborate together!
  • Join the ACC Legal Operations Maturity Model 2.0 working group. Things are evolving fast and we are excited to take the acclaimed model to the next step. The Interest Groups are already making updates, and we are seeking volunteers to join the team to update Change, IP, Contracts, Financial & Compliance Management.
  • Participate in or start a Regional Group to build relationships through in-person interaction. 
  • Champion the Legal Operations function - the ACC Legal Operations LinkedIn Showcase page offers peers, in-house counsel and others in the legal ecosystem leading practices shared among our members.  Help show off the value of legal ops professionals - follow it to get updates, share and tweet articles (#ACCLegalOps).
  • Let us know if you would like to be featured in or author an article in the ACC Legal Ops Observer, the ACC Docket and the LinkedIn Legal Ops showcase page (a package deal!).  
  • Be an Ambassador – many GCs are curious about the rise of legal ops, and we are communicating best practices at ACC Chapter events. We even have a “Legal Ops 101” deck you can use as a template.

Email us to get involved - with offers to share your know-how, suggestions or any questions! LawDepartmentOps@ACC.com.

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Not a Member of ACC Legal Ops? Join Now!

Join now to get access to resources, participate in any of the Interest Groups, and use the online Member Forum for ad hoc benchmarking and referrals. The ACC Legal Ops section is active throughout the year, adding resources, conducting benchmarking studies, and providing webinars by legal operations professionals, for legal ops professionals. 

For more information, visit http://www.acc.com/legalops/ or contact LawDepartmentOps@acc.com

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Contributing Editor:

Legal Ops Can Transform the Practice of Law, but Only if Everyone Embraces It
2019 Conference Preview
Participate & Learn - Global Legal Department Benchmarking
Nominations Open for the 2019 ACC Legal Operations Awards
Quick Survey: Help the Legal Ops Marketing Team Better Serve You!
Highlights from the ACC Legal Ops News & Announcements Page
Upcoming Events
How to Get More Involved in the ACC Legal Ops Community
Not a Member of ACC Legal Ops? Join Now!
Our Mission
The Legal Ops Observer is devoted to reporting on issues important to the members of the ACC Legal Ops section— from the challenges they face to best practices that work, to how members effectively implement innovation within their individual companies and define the future of legal ops across the industry. Follow the ACC on Twitter at @ACCinhouse #ACCLegalOps.
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