CLOC Las Vegas – A Conference Snapshot
By Jordan Urstadt, CEO of PartnerVine
With 1,940 people in Las Vegas, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC)’s 22-25 April 2018 Institute wrapped up in style. It was four days focused on making the legal industry more efficient, and four days where it felt like the future is now for innovation in the legal industry.
And what does that future look like? It’s not one transformative technology, but an ocean of incremental changes. It’s breaking down the walls between companies, vendors and law firms so companies can gather their own data better and then benchmark against the market.
It’s disaggregating legal services so each task is performed by the best tool for the job, regardless of whether it’s software, a lawyer at a law firm or an alternative legal service provider. It’s not just the traditional client and counsel relationship, but an ecosystem.
There was plenty of talk about being at the forefront of a massive transformation in our industry, and most of that transformation is happening in the relationship between clients and their corporate counsel. Particularly for the large companies that are represented on CLOC’s leadership team, there’s a willingness to integrate non-law firm legal service providers into every part of their business.
There were various anecdotes from general counsels that, although their legal spend had remained roughly the same over the last 7 to 8 years, the amount that went to law firms had gone down. That’s what transformation actually looks like.
The way that transformation happens is plenty of decisions on cost, quality and business risk.
There were plenty of stories of big savings in time and money from practical products and I don’t think anyone in the room would argue against e-signatures. For every new tool there’s data to back it up. Refreshingly, in the CLOC crowd that included blockchain.
One of the more interesting discussions I attended was on blockchain and featured Steve Harmon, the Chief Legal Operations Officer at Cisco, taking the sceptic’s role for blockchain’s value add for legal services.
Harmon’s message was that blockchain makes most sense for applications with high transaction volume and a high risk of repudiation. Although that makes sense for currencies like bitcoin, for many legal services Harmon thought blockchain may be a solution in search of a problem, and that a different tool may solve the problem more efficiently.
The message from CLOC leadership is that it’s time to move the legal industry from the inside. Time to move forward with innovation rather than waiting for it to happen.
CLOC’s unique place in the legal industry, representing large companies investing in the new field of legal operations, indicates that the members of CLOC are the ones to do it. CLOC has certainly captured the innovative edge for Legal Tech for large companies.
This Guest Post was written by Jordan Urstadt, Founder and CEO of PartnerVine, which provides smart templates for corporate legal services via an online marketplace.