Happy New Year
With 2017 in the rear view mirror, we are anxious to dive into the new year. But before we do, we’re taking a look back at an extraordinary year in law practice marked by plenty of anxiety-inducing change, an avalanche of data and a corresponding rise in risks of data breaches/cyber attacks, and a bit of professional uncertainty for attorneys at every experience level and across virtually every practice area.
Whether you spent the year grinding away in private practice, or racing to keep up with your in-house work load, you were asked to do more, more quickly and efficiently. You almost certainly felt the push and pull of constrained budgets and heighten client scrutiny as you were asked to do additional work with fewer resources. It is a trend with no end in sight, but savvy lawyers everywhere are learning to leverage technology to drive efficiency.
General Counsel are finding their business voices at a time of increasing demand for insightful judgment in non-legal matters. Every CEO we spoke with this year reiterated their desire to partner with lawyers who “get them” - lawyers who are as eager to be a part of the business team as they are to protect their organizations and their clients from legal risk. Corporate leaders are increasingly sophisticated consumers of legal services and they expect their peers in law to embrace the business, to take ownership of the successes and failures of the business, and to bring their intellect and experience into every strategy discussion. The most successful attorneys are asserting themselves and taking their place in the C-suite seriously, making the case for leveraging legal talent to drive business growth and innovation. Passivity in a lawyer is old fashioned, aggravating, and passé!
This has been the year of the Legal Operations professional. The seeds of in-house operationalization were sewn years ago in the largest corporate legal departments. And that makes sense given the considerable size of their organizations - organizations that manage large budgets in a highly complex, matrixed function. But as the body of thought leadership grows, small and mid-sized legal departments are finding ways to leverage established best practices. Smart General Counsel are making the business case for investment in operational support. If you lead a small to mid-sized law department, you have more resources available to you than ever before. The experts are pooling those resources and disseminating best practices through the increasingly important Corporate Legal Operations Consortium.
Over the next several days and weeks, we will be putting 2017’s lessons to good use as we refine our search practices, grow our networks, and share what we learn along the way.
We wish you great success in 2018!