Press Release

Legal Operations are Shaping Up to Be the Battleground Where Non-Traditional Professional Services Providers are Gaining Traction

ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research finds that legal operations is an area whose pressing needs make legal departments a natural gateway for multiservice, management consulting, and technology providers to make inroads and build relationships with a part of client organizations that was until recently the exclusive domain of traditional law firms


New York, NY – September 14, 2021– 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 shift 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.

“Legal operations professionals are under pressure to reduce costs while dealing with increasingly complex matters and meeting demands that productivity increase and GCs take on a more strategic role within the business,” pointed out ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research Analyst, Kristie Robertson. “This puts a great strain on the legal operations department to not only control costs but to also turn their department into a well-oiled, operationally efficient machine. 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.”

Market Leaders and Pacesetters differentiate themselves by embracing change management and focusing on managing the human side of organizational change. They 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 this with expert analysis, in-depth surveys, robust case studies, and panels where experts lead the discussion. These market leaders can drive informed decision-making for their clients and help them take that first step on their path to rapid and robust change. 

In ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research: Legal Departments – Legal Operations 2021-2022, the Pacesetter Advisory Council 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:

  • Today’s clients are increasingly sophisticated. They are more technologically advanced, desire an enhanced service experience, and want more strategic input in projects
  • Liberalization of legal markets in some geographies has inspired sharp growth in local innovation. Relationships with traditional law firms as well as conflict-of-interest issues with other clients likely preclude multiservice (and some consulting providers) from competing directly in the practice of law matters, but outside the US, these providers concentrate more on the practice of law as a support function for event-driven matters 
  • Legal operations professionals have an increasing appetite for integrated services that address problems holistically rather than focus on a single area and have been keeping more work in-house
  • 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

“During this research, many of our conversations with both the provider side and the client-side began with technology, discussing platform selection or how advanced technology like advanced analytics and AI were being deployed. But then ultimately the focus would shift towards achieving project goals — and more often than not where projects would fail was in figuring out how to get humans and technology to work together most effectively,” said Director of ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research, Tomek Jankowski. 

ALM Intelligence evaluated the legal operations capabilities of the following providers: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Crowe, Deloitte, Elevate, Epiq, Eversheds Sutherland, EY, FTI Consulting, Intapp, KPMG, Kroll, McKinsey & Company, PwC, QuisLex, Reed Smith, Stout, Wipro. 

ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research provides independent, objective research to providers and buyers of professional services, coupled with practical insights that inform the decision-making process for strategic planning and procurement professionals. 

To learn more about this report or obtain the Executive Summary, please visit

Join our analysts for a live discussion on the findings from this research on October 14 at 11:00 AM ET. You can register here:

To obtain the full versions of the ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research series, visit:  or contact our Strategic Accounts Manager, James Doyle at [email protected].




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