New analysis from ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research shows that while the move to digitize and operationalize the legal department is not new, pressures from COVID-19 have accelerated the pace of transformation out of necessity. The rapid transformation to remote work, cybersecurity concerns, business optimization, technological advances, geographic challenges and more have all come to rely increasingly on the General Counsel (GC) as a strategic resource, as well as touching on legal operations teams to implement. As legal operations have grown in large organizations, small organizations have taken notice and started to implement their own operations solutions while also rethinking delivery models and transforming legal function operations, translating into increased demand in the market all around.

This research assesses eighteen providers’ strategies and service offerings identified as Market Leaders for their ability to deliver client impact in legal operations. Additionally, the research and analysis provide insights into the competitive dynamics and service delivery trends, driving convergence across legal, management consulting, multiservice and technology providers.

Research Highlights

  • While the move to digitize and operationalize the legal department is not new, pressures from COVID-19 have accelerated the pace of transformation out of necessity. Organizations that have adopted a strategic legal operations approach are more cost-effective, build better relationships both inside and outside of the organization, and provide greater value for the organization as a whole
  • Today’s clients are increasingly sophisticated. They are more technologically advanced, desire an enhanced service experience, and want more strategic input in projects. Providers needed to step up to the plate and meet these expectations by changing their delivery models, creating new solutions, and packaging solutions in the way clients want to use them
  • While in its infancy stateside, other countries have relaxed regulations around the practice of law and law firm ownership for non-lawyers. Larger providers already serving those countries are ready and willing to offer legal services they are currently barred from offering in the United States. Other providers, wary of stepping on the toes of their traditional law firm clientele, are open to alliance agreements or partnerships, allowing them to gradually expand their services into this area
  • Increased demand for legal operations professionals has created a hiring frenzy. Organizations should look beyond legal experience and import experienced professionals from adjacent industries (financial/marketing/technology operations) to incorporate diverse experience, especially with technology skills and financial management experience
  • LSPs and law firms are establishing complementary services with consulting firms to extend their offerings to more fully compete with the capabilities of large multiservice companies but law firms and multiservice companies often compete over corporate contracts that involve easily automated, highly repetitive tasks. As legal departments mature and their roles shift, law firms and multiservice companies could find ways to partner or join forces to potentially push out LSPs

What Makes An ALM Intelligence Legal Departments – Legal Operations Pacesetter & Market Leader?

Market Leaders and Pacesetters differentiate themselves by embracing change management and focus on managing the human side of organizational change, including providing ongoing training or upskilling for employees. Market Leaders and Pacesetters think and plan beyond just the roadmap for department change and incorporate the human side of the equation through interviews, training, continuing education and feedback exchange programs. Thought leadership is another integral element and Market Leaders and Pacesetters produce real thought leadership such as expert analysis, in-depth surveys, robust case studies, and hold panels where experts lead the discussion. These market leaders are able to drive informed decision making for their clients and help clients take that first step on their path to rapid and robust change.

The 2021-2022 Legal Department – Legal Operations Market Leaders & Pacesetters

  • Allen & Overy
  • Clifford Chance
  • Crowe
  • Deloitte
  • Elevate
  • Epiq
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • EY
  • FTI Consulting
  • Intapp
  • KPMG
  • Kroll
  • McKinsey & Company
  • PwC
  • QuisLex
  • Reed Smith
  • Stout
  • Wipro

the methodology

The goal of ALM Pacesetter Research is to help buyers of professional services navigate an increasingly complex landscape with confidence. We use a multidisciplinary perspective to identify best-in-class providers of legal, consulting, financial, insurance, employee benefits, and other professional services and analyze how they are evolving as an ecosystem of interdisciplinary service providers. Our research is grounded in over 50 years of accumulated market insights and qualitative research models that combine knowledge of management science with case studies and other sources of knowledge to understand patterns of market supply, demand, behavior, and ways of doing business. Our research also includes voices/perspectives from both the sellside and buyside, as well as knowledgeable people working in industry associations, academia, etc.

  • The ALM Pacesetter Advisory Council (PAC) convenes in advance of the research project kick-off; members include ALM journalists and editors, and external experts such as consultants, general counsel, and industry thought leaders

  • The PAC selects the set of Market Leaders that will be covered in the research topic from a larger group of providers that members have identified in the normal course of their work

  • PAC members also provide expert knowledge and insights to the ALM Pacesetter team throughout the research and analysis process

  • The ALM Pacesetter Team within ALM Intelligence conducts primary and secondary research

  • Primary research includes in-depth interviews with practice leaders at the provider firms covered in the research; satisfaction interviews with clients referred by those providers; and in-depth interviews with thought leaders, recruiting professionals, and other sources

  • Secondary research includes data gathered from annual reports and earnings calls, management presentations, public filings, case studies, press releases, journals and publications, online information databases and other publicly available resources

  • Market Leaders that achieve a Pacesetter Impact Score equal to or over 85 are designated as ALM Pacesetters

  • Pacesetter analysts map markets and stakeholders and write market trends

  • Market segment overviews are peer reviewed by the appropriate PAC member

Service providers are evaluated and scored based on five core criteria

Business Model

Provider’s ability to reposition core competencies around new products, services, and business models to adapt to shifting patterns of market supply, demand, behavior, and ways of doing business.

Value Proposition

Provider’s ability to deliver on its value proposition, i.e., the positioning statement that communicates the benefits and economic value a prospect will receive by purchasing the provider’s products and services over a competitor’s.

Service Delivery

Provider’s ability to mobilize resources and configure assets to serve clients.

Client Impact

Provider’s ability to help clients affect continuous, sustainable change, mitigate risk, improve performance, and achieve growth.

Brand Eminence

Provider’s ability to leverage brand and marketing strategies to differentiate in its marketplace as an expert practitioner and thought leader.

About The Analyst

Kristie Robertson brings a diverse background with more than fifteen years of legal and research experience to her role as an Analyst at Pacesetter Research. Kristie specializes in the area of emerging technologies and she has spent the majority of her career focused on the management, creation, and distribution of intelligence and information.

Prior to joining ALM Intelligence, Kristie was the Director of Intelligence at a SaaS company where she led a team of analysts that regularly published and presented insights to a broad global client base, including firms in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. Before that, she focused on research in the Emerging Technologies and Medical industry field in a large international law firm located in Canada.

Kristie holds a Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) and a Juris Doctor (J.D.).

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