Uncovering legal operations leading practices

Trends tracked from the 2022 State of Legal Ops Survey

Our 2022 State of Legal Operations Survey took a deep dive to learn what’s top of mind for executives. The findings indicate that legal departments are working toward aligning with overall company objectives but are challenged by misaligned headcount and slow to improve technology and business intelligence strategies. Discover more.

Revamping legal operations strategy

Corporate legal departments are quickly evolving from support functions to strategic ones. This growth means in-house lawyers and their staff are taking on more projects, doing more administrative work, and discovering that technologies and processes are not keeping up with their needs. Therefore, the time is right for leaders to take bold steps to modernize how work is done, who does the work, and how it is delivered. And these steps are crucial to transforming legal operations management into the functions of the future.

Key findings on the challenges facing legal departments today


  • Legal departments mostly feel their strategy is in line, but effectuating that strategy is challenging.
    • 64% agree that legal’s goals and objectives align with overall company strategy.
    • 56% agree that legal is viewed as a strategic partner to other business units.
    • 44% agree that their legal financial management strategy aligns with a broader legal strategy.
    • Only 25% reported having a legal knowledge management strategy that fully aligns with their business strategy.

Vendor management strategy

  • Considering who supports legal and how they are selected could alleviate resourcing constraints and reduce overall spend.
    • 24% of respondents have a well-established preferred provider program for firms and vendors and are less apt to consider alternative legal service providers (6%).
    • Only 18% have a defined strategy for delegating work to firms/vendors, but more understand the process for how work is assigned to external vendors.
    • 25% feel it’s even widely adopted.

Service delivery and project management

  • When adding headcount is not an option, there is a need to revisit how work is done to gain efficiency through aligning the right work to the right people and advancing strategic project management.
    • Only 15% have the appropriate attorney headcount and just 10% indicate having appropriate support staff headcount.
    • 75% believe their attorneys have too much administrative work and believe team members spend too much time on manual tasks.
    • Only 38% agreed that their process on how work is assigned to internal resources is defined and widely adopted.
    • Little more than half (57%) don’t have a project management function, a standard process for project reporting, or applicable project management training.


  • Legal department should select and leverage technology that helps support versus hinder legal work.
    • 55% say that current legal technologies do not meet their needs, but only 44% have a defined technology roadmap to help address needs (down 10% from 2021).
    • 45% report having some business intelligence reporting capabilities via a central technology.
    • 18% have technology-enabled processes to support tracking/measuring KPIs related to performance, spend, and outcomes.


  • There’s a desire to build effective teams with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in mind.
    • 90% of respondents reported having a strategy for advancing DEI and that it’s a top priority when designing the workforce.
    • 33% have internal DEI metrics that are tracked and measured. However, only 1
    • 8% are considering DEI among their firm/vendors when sourcing projects.

By leveraging the right resources, aligning work to the right role, and highlighting value, your legal department can be better prepared to realize strategies and manage risk for the business.

Download the report to learn more.

Legal operations best practices

The survey leveraged the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium’s (CLOC) 12 Core Competencies of legal operations, which focus on business processes, activities and the professionals who enable legal departments to serve clients effectively by applying legal operations best practices.

Advancing the value of legal operations

With the traditional role of the legal function evolving fast, you should act proactively to upgrade your capabilities. At Deloitte, we look at how legal functions can embrace change and collaborate with other business functions across their organization as strategic advisors. And if you are looking for the applicable insights to transform your function, we are ready to help. Learn why the time is right to transcend your traditional reactive role and be the catalyst for future business growth, development, and profits for your organization.

Like to discuss more? Let’s connect when it’s convenient for you.

Get in touch

Scott Read
Legal Business Services
Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP

Ashley Smith
Managing Director
Legal Business Services
Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP

Brian Karney
Managing Director
Legal Business Services
Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP

Mike Stanioski
Senior Manager
Legal Business Services
Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP

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