We’re a few weeks out now from the CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) Institute in London, and I’m finally jumping into some recaps. There was some truly excellent content during the conference, and not just for legal operations folks, but with transferable lessons for everyone in the legal industry. Over the next few weeks, I’ll dive into a few of the sessions and look at what we discussed, starting with Steve Harmon’s presentation on the Evolving Role of the Corporate Legal Department & the Implications for Legal Operations Teams. Harmon is the Deputy General Counsel at Cisco and General Counsel at Elevate, and a CLOC board member.

Harmon’s presentation had some great takeaways, which I’ll address in a future post, but I’d like to look first at the five trends he identified that we should be watching.

  1. Radical transparency: Google and other companies are “organizing all the world’s information” so Harmon said that the challenge for law is a greater demand for access to information. Clients will demand access, so law firms will have to make it available.
  2. Rules-based systems: Self-driving cars are rules-based systems, and if cars can self-drive, it’s naive to believe that there’s no room for machine-learning or AI in the legal industry. Machine learning has seen a fundamental shift to data instead of rules, and the legal industry has access to a tremendous amount of data.
  3. Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data: There is the misconception that machine learning has to be perfect – people often compare it to the standard of perfection. But it just has to be better than a person, and a person is never perfect.
  4. Analytics and metrics everywhere: With an increase in data, this should not be a surprise.
  5. OpenSource negotiation: Fewer idiosyncratic fights.

One of my favorite points that Harmon made came towards the end of his presentation, and that was the idea that “trying harder is not a solution,” which he illustrated with a child riding a bicycle with a square wheel. We may have always made square wheels, and we may believe that if we only push a little harder, we’ll be able to ride the bike successfully with them. But is that the best way? No. Is it the most efficient way? No. Will we make mistakes on our way to finding the round wheel? Probably – maybe we’ll end up with a triangle wheel first. But working together, embracing technology and collaboration, and staying open minded will be the keys to future success.

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.