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The Hard Makes Ops Great

At CLOC’s annual institute in Las Vegas in May, Mary O’Carroll, Director of Legal Ops at Google and CLOC President, laid out the organization’s priorities. First, she said, we need to get back to our roots and what makes the organization great – community. Second, we need to engage across the ecosystem and bridge our divides, especially between law firms and in-house ops professionals. “CLOC has a role to play in bridging that divide and driving change at scale,” she said, announcing a beta program creating a new, separate member class for law firms. She explained that CLOC had been calling on firms to change, and that firms had responded with innovative initiatives, but those initiatives were not what companies wanted. “Working with law firms is critical to better alignment across the industry,” she said. “Firms don’t want to admit they don’t know what to do next,” she said, acknowledging how hard it had been to get CLOC off and running. “None of us knows what we’re doing. We have learned a lot, but there’s still far, far to go.” To punctuate her message to law firms, who she called on to embrace the CLOC culture, she cited the Tom Hanks character, Jimmy Duggan, the hard-drinking coach of the Rockford Peaches in “A League of Their Own.” When his star, Dottie, played by Geena Davis, quits on the eve of the World Series because baseball had gotten too hard, an exasperated Hanks explodes. “It's supposed to be hard,” he hisses. “If it were easy, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” Just like ops.