Legal Operations: Getting More from In-House Legal Departments and Their Outside Counsel

In-house legal departments currently face a series of new challenges. While complexity and the amount of legal work are on the rise, legal department budgets continue to shrink.

More and more companies set up Legal Operations teams to face these challenges and improve the efficiency of their legal department.

A new study by The Boston Consulting Group and Bucerius Law School looks at theoretical foundations and practical implications of this approach. The authors have interviewed close to 50 pioneers in the space and evaluated prior studies.

The study includes an overview of activities that are typical of Legal Operations functions, a look at the typical levers used to make legal departments more efficient using Legal Operations, as well as examples of the improvements that can be achieved by implementing a Legal Operations function. The study also contains ideas on how to successfully implement a Legal Operations function in a company and institutional obstacles that can be in its way. To conclude, the authors describe the implications of this shift for external counsel in law firms and law companies. These points are illustrated using case studies of companies and law firms from the U.S. and Germany.

How Legal Technology will Change the Business of Law

The amount of data relevant for law practice is growing continually. Therefore, the skill of assembling, analyzing and interpreting data will be decisive for the long-term success of law firms in the future.

It is estimated that software will be able to adequately perform about 30–50% of tasks usually assigned to junior lawyers, which puts more and more legal industry jobs in danger.

Legal Technology enables the digitalization and automatization of workflows using software, such as the automatic evaluation of contracts, case management, and the automation of back office work. Few German law firms use Legal Technology, and there are few Legal Technology startups in Germany.

This is a conclusion reached by the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession (CLP) and The Boston Consulting Group in their study “How Legal Technology Will Change the Business of Law”. The authors interviewed 50 partners at big law firms, including at the largest nine law firms in Germany by sales. Additionally, they asked entrepreneurs in the Legal Technology space about the implications of Legal Technology on the business model of big law firms.