3 Ways To Future-Proof Legal Operations

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Technology has changed the legal industry and made old ways of doing business obsolete, according to legal operations professionals who spoke on a panel at the CLOC Global Institute conference Tuesday in Las Vegas.

During the talk, titled "Legal Reimagined: Conquering Today's Challenges with Tomorrow's Technology," the panelists discussed the challenges that they have faced running legal departments and how they overcame those hurdles.

Panelist Marianna Trocinski, legal operations analyst at truck maker Navistar, said that when she started out in the industry, law firms and vendors still had to mail bills to the company.

"We had so many siloed systems across the company, and even in legal," Trocinski said.

The other four panelists were Justin Hectus, Keesal Young & Logan chief innovation officer; Anthony Mozeleski, Lucid Motors director of legal operations; Justin Silverman, senior vice president of product and strategy at Mitratech; and Kevin Wong, senior legal operations analyst at Gilead Sciences.

Here are three ways that the panelists shared for how law departments can brace their operations for the future.

Integrate Tech Systems

Mozeleski, who previously worked as a legal operations manager for Apple and General Motors for nearly 20 years, said that having technology systems that work together can save time in the long run.

When systems can be integrated together, time doesn't have to be spent copying data from one application to another, Mozeleski said.

He noted that the legal operations team at electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors uses six systems, including contract management software and electronic billing, that all work together.

"You want an application that you can use and configure to do what you need to do so you can change with the business without having to get funding for a formal project or information technology or wait six months for the project to ramp up," he said.

Create Change Buy-In

Trocinski said that when she tried to formalize legal operations at Navistar she faced a lot of resistance from attorneys who had been with the company for decades and didn't want to change how they did their business.

When adopting new processes, legal operation managers need to explain the reasoning behind changes to get their team onboard, Trocinski said.

"You have to be able to explain the 'why' and get the buy-in," she said.

Choose "A Single Source of Truth"

Related to integrating systems, Wong said that legal operations teams should adopt a "single source of truth," which is an IT term for one platform where all data is aggregated.

Choosing a single software platform for aggregating data makes projects move faster because data then doesn't need to be sorted through to eliminate duplicate information, Wong said.

"One of our early goals at Gilead was to find a platform that could serve as a single source of truth," he said.

--Editing by Robert Rudinger.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.



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