Legal department functions add value across the enterprise

14th annual Law Department Operations Survey results

Value has become a big priority for legal operations functions as they weigh in on different areas of the law department and contribute to more initiatives across the enterprise. Explore these and other highlights from the 14th annual survey report, a collaboration of Deloitte Legal Business Services and the Blickstein Group.

Transcending the legal department

The 14th annual Law Department Operations Survey demonstrates that the legal operations function is no longer focused exclusively on providing efficiencies and strategic value to the corporate legal department itself. Rather, the law department operations (LDO) function at many companies is evolving toward assisting law departments to deliver more value to many different areas of their organization. As LDO teams and professionals have grown in depth and maturity, they are taking more of an outward-facing approach to enhance the value they provide to their corporations overall.

Perhaps the best evidence of this is in survey respondents’ ranking of key performance indicators (KPIs). They ranked “value provided to the corporation” as the second most important and “customer/client feedback” as third, behind only “actual spend vs. law department’s total budget.”

Further evidence of an outward-looking focus is that LDO professionals are having substantial interactions on matters that stretch beyond the legal department. When asked how often they contribute to cross-functional objectives such as a contract management program that involves both procurement and legal, 73 percent of respondents reported frequently or very frequently, a small increase from 70 percent in 2020. And more than half of respondents (52.5 percent) are very frequently or frequently involved in enterprisewide strategic initiatives, defined as those outside the legal department. That represents an increase from 44 percent last year.

These responses illustrate an LDO function that has grown beyond internal projects. Rather, these professionals are leading projects that transcend the legal department and are becoming a crucial point of contact within the legal department in relation to other functions. In fact, survey respondents were asked if they interface with the following functions at least weekly: 68 percent of respondents said they communicate with the executive suite; 98 percent with IT; 95 percent with finance; and 75 percent with HR.

Learn more about Deloitte’s Legal Business Services

The rapidly changing business landscape has intensified pressure on legal departments to increase efficiencies and deliver greater value to the business. Deloitte’s Legal Business Services helps clients modernize their legal departments, freeing the core legal team to focus on strategic priorities, enhance the speed and quality of issue identification, and use data to drive faster, more informed decision-making.

*The Deloitte US firms do not practice law or provide legal advice

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