This week’s Legal Innovators California Profile is with Chris Beahn, Director of Legal and Global Affairs Operations at Splunk, the cloud data and security pioneer.
When did you first hear the term ‘legal innovation’ and what did you think at the time?
It has been a number of years since I first heard of ‘legal innovation’, but the term immediately resonated. For some time I have been watching the rise of legal operations as a force for transforming legal departments. Smart chief legal officers are investing in the types of initiatives and people that can have a material effect on their employees’ ability to deliver and scale.
What is your role now?
Director of Operations, Legal and Global Affairs. Basically it is my job to supercharge how we get work done. My team enables our people to do more work at higher quality, and that reduces risk.
Why did you move into this field?
I love process efficiency and technology. For the past 20 years I have been supporting legal and loving it. This industry provides new challenges and opportunities to make a material difference on a regular basis.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Seeing the difference my team can make.
If you looked into a crystal ball, how much do you think the everyday practice of law would change in the next five to ten years, especially given changes in AI?
The impact of AI for day-to-day work will be staggering. But that will just drive more knowledge work forward, and we will see an explosion of new needs and skills.
What are the biggest challenges legal innovation now faces in the current climate?
The biggest challenge facing legal innovation is harnessing the AI revolution. There is a real danger of legal departments failing to embrace the opportunities that AI affords. There will of course be risks, and adoption will have to be deliberate and considered, but the benefits may be too great to sit on the sidelines.
And what are the greatest opportunities now for change across the legal sector?
The sector needs more innovators. Often when the macro-environment turns sour, the tendency is to cut non-practicing attorneys. But with such large promises of transforming how our work is done, cutting change agents would be a missed opportunity.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the field of legal innovation and legal tech?
This is a great field, and those who are engaged are eager to share their experience. If you are considering legal innovation, reach out to people already in the space.
Thanks Chris! Looking forward to hearing you speak at Legal Innovators California, June 7 and 8 in San Francisco.
If you would like more information about the two-day event, please see here. Day One will focus on law firms and ALSPs, and Day Two will focus on inhouse and legal ops.
See you all there!
Richard Tromans, Founder of Artificial Lawyer and conference Chair