- Who We Serve
The product team's relationship with legal is often an interesting one. While the two departments probably feature very different mindsets, the success or failure of both teams can come down to how well legal and product work together.
And while your business needs are unique, that doesn’t mean a little guidance can’t go a long way in making this relationship more meaningful. It’s why so many organizations consider the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) 12 core competencies as functional areas that can be used to ensure operational excellence between both departments.
Content Download: How to Build a Legal Ops Department from Scratch
But – after working with hundreds of contract experts from both sides – we’ve got a few tips that can help you elevate legal operations and improve the way legal and product work together. Three tips, to be exact:
Traditional contract design is well-known for creating processes that push deals along at a snail’s pace. Which is why a modern approach can be such a huge advantage for your legal operations initiative. Especially if the effort’s supported by a forward-thinking product team poised to take advantage of this trend.
If your legal and product teams work together to replace legacy workflows and traditional Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions, you have the most to gain from rethinking your contract design. A high-velocity approach that cuts down on the time it takes to craft deals, hand off your terms to salespeople, and legally enforce your agreements is a much more efficient approach that’s likely to lead to future success.
Plus, a high-velocity contract design that incorporates CLOC core competencies leads to minimized costs and legal resource involvements across every engagement. And it streamlines your interdepartmental interactions, too – making the experience of working with legal operations experts as possible as possible.
So, high-velocity contract design should be your standard if it isn’t already. As contract law rapidly evolves (like it’s done at a record-setting pace over the past 10-15 years), speed and efficiency in your deals isn’t optional – it’s essential for legal and product working together successfully. To achieve your goals and take some of the workload off of your legal operations department’s plate, revisit contract design and look for opportunities to deliver efficiency at every turn.
WEBINAR: THE ECONOMICS OF CONTRACT DESIGN
The first step to building any effective legal operations department is to determine the role you want it to fulfill. Thinking strategically about the function of legal operations and how your product team can influence its overall success needs to happen at step one. Think of it like laying the necessary foundation.
To gain buy-in and executive support for your legal operations coworkers, you need to prove the team can provide serious business benefits. And product is perfectly positioned to do just that. Advantages such as cost savings and increased efficiency are major decision-making drivers that you can ensure. Especially if you use the CLOC core competence reference model to understand how legal and product work together to build a successful initiative.
After all, legal operations teams just getting started should aim to achieve this organization’s most basic competency level through financial management, vendor management, cross-functional alignment, and technology/process support. And product teams have an important part to play.
As product helps legal operations grow and mature, each CLOC core competency will as well. So, understanding how they impact your business and its legal operations can guide more informed decisions and lead to better hiring decisions going forward.
Moving to a new contracting system or software product often requires you tothink and act differently. Long-term benefits and proactive solutions suddenly take precedence. And as a product management expert, you know all about finding future-focused opportunities to work smarter and more efficiently. By helping your legal team do the same, you can eliminate most (if not all) of the manual work a contract required them to do.
Help them think like you to understand what they need today. What they need tomorrow. And which resources are most likely to get legal operations where they need to go.
Given insight into your tried-and-true product evaluation methodologies, a legal operations department can lead to tremendous ROI down the road. Especially if you can help them create a roadmap that determines which new features and capabilities are the most important to creating faster and more convenient contracts in the not-so-distant future.
To make that happen, legal and product need to work together to ask the right questions. How valuable can this new software be? What benefits can we expect from this investment? Who will use these new tools? How will it impact your overall market standing? What’s the timeframe from investment to implementation?
A legal operations roadmap aided by product experts doesn’t just evaluate, though. It sets benchmarks and standards for legal operations software rollouts. And this includes tasks such as testing, integration, and training to avoid missed deadlines and unforeseen problems throughout the process.
And all of this hard work makes it more likely that a piece of legal operations software will be successful. As contracting enters the digital age, legal and product working together will become increasingly important. Managing online terms, for example, is the responsibility of both teams. Because these overlapping tasks impact both user experiences and legal enforcement.
Thinking in the same language will lead to a more collaborative, seamless, and productive legal operations experience for everyone involved. By seeking interdepartmental input on important purchasing decisions, your stakeholders will see software as the future for legal. Not to mention make your work implementing these new tools far easier, too.
For legal and product to work together successfully, there needs to be an open and honest feedback loop. To deliver the insight your legal operations team needs to stay on top of their game, download our Clickwrap Litigation Trends: 2021 Report today.