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Optimizing Law Department Performance

In the recent webinar, in conjunction with the ACC (Ontario Chapter), "Optimizing Law Department Performance through Your Legal Operations Function", our panel of experts comprising of Richard Brzakala, Senior Director Global External Legal Services, CIBC, Omeed Arlani, Corporate Counsel, OMERS, Kyla Sandwith, Legal Consultant, Simplex Legal LLP and Founder of De Novo Inc., and Catherine J. Moynihan, Senior Director, Strategic Intelligence & Advisory, Hyperion, (Epiq), discussed the Hyperion Research 2022 Legal Operations Benchmarking Survey and its results. The Survey results tell a story of legal departments striving for clear legal operations structure, forecasting legal technology investment trends, integration of technologies, dashboard and analytics, and the rise of contract lifecycle management. 

Discover the key takeaways from their discussion and watch the recorded webinar below.

Alignment around Priorities

How do legal departments prioritize innovation initiatives to drive change in their organizations?
  • Start off by understanding your processes. From there you can determine pain points and then what problems you can prioritize and solve. Once you understand the full picture of a process (team dynamic, engagement, documents, communications, etc.), you can find out what’s working and what’s not, then prioritize and fix.
  • To prioritize your plans, there must be “value at the end of the rainbow.” You must demonstrate the value of your project to your stakeholders, teammates, and executives.
  • Executive sponsorship is critical to making your plans a priority. Always have executive buy-in so your plans have a champion.
  • Understand what you’re trying to achieve and how it aligns with your company’s values and strategy. Map out what you want, define the need, visualize, share that info with shareholders, assign a responsible party for each step of the process


What is the process for legal departments to choose the right technology to solve the right problems?

  • Know what you need the tool to do before you speak with sales representatives. Always state “The tool needs to do X, Y, and Z.” This way you won’t be distracted or upsold by extra features and you’ll have leverage over the sales team.
  • A weighted scorecard is a simple tool to support selection processes. Assign a value and then score solutions on each requirement.
  • Don’t try to automate a bad process. A shiny new tool might just prove frustrating. Take the time to pilot the new process before automating it.
  • It’s possible that the tech you already have can solve your problem; use it to its greatest capability. This way you can contain costs while improving processes and only invest when you can clearly define the additional benefit from the technology.


How does reporting on KPIs advance the mission for your department, and the value you bring to the business?

  • Data helps increase the credibility of the department within the organization. Having comprehensive and accurate data shows your value/success; and good stewardship of financial and human resources helps you make the case to get more.
  • Companies often fail to measure their own internal processes – an important part of the departmental performance puzzle.
  • The “low hanging fruit” is typically measuring and managing legal spend because there is an abundance of ebilling data that should be actionable. Audit your data, collect additional information as needed to understand spend levers (again, also examining the process data to see if there is something to streamline or eliminate).




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