The 2021 ELM Amplify virtual conference is underway! Wolters Kluwer's ELM Solutions General Manager and EVP Raja Sengupta got the annual user event started with a welcome address about why the legal ops function is at an inflection point and how legal professionals can be part of driving a successful future.
What it means to “Be Boundless”
Raja observed that, although the corporate legal function is typically associated with boundaries – rules, law, regulatory compliance, etc. – legal operations teams do not have to feel bound by old ways of working. By thinking about the state of the industry today, and observing where there is space to grow and innovate how we accomplish our goals, legal leaders can help their teams work at their very best and drive improved outcomes for their companies.
What are some of the ways legal operations can be boundless? Raja mentioned a few, including:
- They can redefine what the legal department does – and what it can do – for the business. With consideration and planning, legal can drive more business goals in a proactive and predictive way.
- Legal executives and managers can create an environment that “lets lawyers be leaders as well as lawyers,” with support from tools and workflows that enable talent to thrive and do more value-added work.
- Everyone in legal ops can have a mindset that looks beyond the immediate work and concerns and thinks through how legal can go beyond providing a valuable service and improve the whole experience of internal stakeholders.
Leaders who embrace innovation
Technology has a significant role to play in making these improvements. Most legal teams have done a good job of implementing the foundational technologies that can help them get started on this journey. However, Raja advocated the importance of not simply investing in new and better ways of working but truly embracing them. How is embracing innovation different from investing in it? It means sewing it into the fabric of your organization and integrating it into your overall vision. It involves creating a roadmap for continuous improvement, far from a “one-and-done” quick-fix mentality.
There are legal operations leaders who have indeed embraced important technology and process changes that have allowed them to improve their teams’ contributions. Raja presented Legal Innovator awards to three organizations that have gotten exceptional results putting these ideas into action:
- Equitable planned and implemented a strategy to modernize its legal department, which included a detailed tech roadmap. The results they have achieved to date are truly impressive. Mike Lordi, Head of Law Department Operations, accepted the award on behalf of Equitable and talked about how the Equitable team achieved such success in executing their improvement plan.
- Citi was recognized for its continued efforts to enhance its legal data quality and controls, productivity, and spend management while reducing its technology risks. They have also rolled out a legal supplier diversity and inclusion program across their outside counsel network. Maitane Arozena, Citi’s Global Legal Solutions Director of Operations and Technology, accepted the award for the company.
- Swiss Re has embraced advanced legal technology, including the use of artificial intelligence tools, to bring greater value to the business. Accepting the award for Swiss Re, Orazio Difruscolo, Head of Claims and Legal Sourcing, spoke about the company’s journey to see AI embraced in the legal department.
These award-winners provided inspiration and high expectations for how successful the legal operations function can be when leaders decide to be boundless. From October 26 through 28, ELM Amplify will continue to present stories of success, as well as training, demos, panel discussions, and case study presentations to help attendees achieve their inspired goals. Register here to join us.