CLOC 2019 Highlights

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By Oliver Duchesne
| Event Recap

From May 14-16, Priori co-founders, Basha Rubin and Mirra Levitt, along with Client Director, Jon Karolczak, were in Las Vegas for the 2019 Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) Institute at the Bellagio. It was an action-packed few days of meetings, events, seminars and product demonstrations. Basha, Jon and Mirra reflected on some highlights from the conference below. Enjoy!

 

Basha Rubin, CEO & Co-Founder

Who was the most interesting speaker you heard? What were the takeaways?

I really enjoyed “Actionable Guidance for Driving Impactful Legal Department Transformation” moderated by Joe Borstein, Global Director at Pangea3 Legal Managed Services, with Mike Haven, Head of Legal Operations at Gap, Inc., Jae Um, Director of Pricing Strategy at Baker McKenzie, Elaine Karp, Director of Legal Operations at Baxter and Farrah Pepper, Chief Legal Innovation Counsel at Marsh & McLennan Companies.

It was a practical and honest view of how legal operations leaders can effect change in their departments and the challenges they face in doing so. There was no bias toward a particular product or methodology but instead, the panel successfully provided guiding principles for legal operations professionals and others interested in making their departments run more efficiently.

This is a topic that we at Priori spend a lot of time thinking about and is the subject of our forthcoming white paper collaboration with Wolters Kluwer. Watch this space!

What was your favorite event?

This year Priori co-hosted a cocktail event at the Picasso restaurant overlooking the Bellagio fountain (and by overlooking, I mean, so close you could touch it). I’m certainly biased, but I had such a blast with Priori clients whom we work with all year but almost never get a chance to spend time with in a relaxed setting.

How did the conference make you feel about the future of legal operations?

Extremely bullish! This was my second CLOC conference, and even versus last year, CLOC 2019 was bigger and more energized. The fact that more and more legal departments are investing more and more resources into legal operations (or, at a minimum, are curious about it) will mean that the legal departments and law firms alike will have more incentive to operate efficiently and cost-effectively. This is obviously integral to what we’re doing at Priori. In the past, it often seemed as though the legal operations professionals understood why the Priori marketplace model for legal services delivery made intuitive sense, but like for many other legal tech companies, it was hard to get broader buy-in. This year, the tone was different: many reluctant legal departments are ready to act.

Final thoughts?

It’s an exciting time to be building a legal technology company with the CLOC movement. A lot of the content at the conference this year still centered around the fact that the legal departments were receptive to an operational mindset, but as the profession and conference continue to mature, I’m looking forward to ever more sophisticated perspectives and insights.

 

Jon Karolczak, Client Director

Who was the most interesting speaker you heard? What were the takeaways?

There were a number of great speakers throughout the conference, but one of the most interesting takeaways for me was the announcement by CLOC president, Mary O’Carroll, that the group will begin beta testing membership for law firms in the next few months. O’Carroll said that CLOC’s goal in expanding membership opportunities to firms is to foster better alignment and understanding between in-house teams and outside counsel across key industry issues, including innovation, fee arrangements, diversity initiatives and more. That goal resonated with me and aligns well with our core mission at Priori, to more effectively connect in-house teams with the right outside counsel based on their specific legal project needs and policy requirements.

What was your favorite event?

I’m biased, but the Priori and WoltersKluwer (CLOC)tails at the Picasso restaurant was a fantastic event. It was great to catch up with so many of our clients and colleagues in one place, and the sunset view of the Bellagio fountain did not disappoint. HBR Consulting also put on an excellent circus-themed event under the “Big Top.”

How did the conference make you feel about the future of legal operations?

The conference left me incredibly excited about the future of legal operations. The sheer scale of the event (~2,200 attendees) and diversity of attendees (in-house teams, technology companies and law firms, amongst others) shows that companies are really focused on the increasing value that legal operations and accompanying services (like Priori!) can bring to their business and legal functions. It’s only going to get more interesting from here.

Love or loathe Vegas?

I love it for what it is.

Final thoughts?

It’s clear that the legal operations space is maturing, with a growing number of companies having successfully established legal operations functions and implemented supporting technology solutions. In that context, conferences like CLOC are an incredible opportunity to learn from the experiences of others in the industry, to see what the blueprint for success looks like and to learn what solutions are driving real value for companies in the space. I’m already looking forward to next year!

 

Mirra Levitt, Head of Product & Co-Founder

Who was the most interesting speaker you heard? What were the takeaways?

I thought one of the strongest panels was Solving for “Who”: Getting Legal Resourcing Right with Vincent J. Cordo,Central Legal Operations Officer, Shell Oil Company, Matthew Lewis, SVP, Axiom; Brad Rogers, Chief Operations Officer and Chief of Staff, Law, Corporate Secretary, TIAA; and David White, Director of Law Firm Management, Accenture.

In legal departments, 90% of spend goes to “who” is doing the work -- and the panel drilled down on how to think about resourcing accordingly. In particular, Vincent Cordo’s focus on building and motivating legal teams was a good reminder that strong legal operations product design should include human-centric considerations, even as it strives to drive transparency and efficiency.

How did the conference make you feel about the future of legal operations?

Strong buy! This year’s conference was huge and the energy was palpable, but it was the smaller conversations with stakeholders across the legal ops spectrum that were the most exciting. In-house lawyers, legal operations professionals, private firms, law companies -- everyone was focused and ready to move forward.

Love or loathe Vegas?

Kind of love it!

 

 

 

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