FRONT: Required Reading

Too busy to read it all? Try these books, blogs, webcasts, websites and other info resources curated by CCBJ especially for corporate counsel and legal ops professionals.

SURVEY: HBR Consulting - According to Lauren Chung, chief practice officer and survey editor at HBR, there is a fundamental reassessment underway at many corporate law departments. Looking at the data from HBR’s 2022 Law Department Survey and info from 200 companies culled via its Sounding Board series, law departments have adopted a more intense and conservative focus on law firms’ annual rate reviews, becoming more cautious, as economic uncertainty has swelled. For example, in-house lawyers are planning to tighten up on acceptable rate increases, which has them grudgingly enforcing promotion-only bumps, among a dwindling number of other measures.

ARTICLE: Global Legal Post - This piece, from Global Legal Post, features a thought experiment from Anthony Widdop, global director of legal operations at Shearman & Sterling. “If you are a leader in an in-house law department with the benefit of a blank page,” he asks, “would you redesign your function as it is today. Widdop is convinced that this challenging and uncertain environment – he calls it a “burning platform” – creates a golden moment to make the case for serious change. Any corporate law department, he believes, can identify quick wins and major initiatives by thinking outside the box. “While there will always be opportunities to optimize staffing, GCs should look beyond headcount as the only lever to demonstrate value,” he says. “After all, we know that cost is not a strategy.”

OPINION: Bloomberg Law - Taking a tag-team approach, Evisort’s Memme Onwudiwe and Credit Karma’s Tom Stephenson make the case that having a law degree is a wildly overrated prerequisite for legal operations jobs. “The need for JD after someone’s name is less important than the role’s requirements,” Onwudiwe and Stephenson say. “Just because a position is within legal pedagogy is not a reason to prefer a lawyer over a subject-matter expert. Legal operations professionals have a unique opportunity to emphasize the importance of designing and implementing a business solution ecosystem to guide greater efficiency and decision-making.

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