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How to become a leader in legal ops

When looking to move into a leadership position in legal operations, there are number of practical first steps that one must take, argues ANZ’s head of legal ops.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 08 October 2019 Corporate Counsel
Elliot Leibu
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In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, ANZ head of legal ops Elliot Leibu said one must look to prioritse, plan and build connections as a first port of call.

“You’ve probably identified a number of goals and initiatives, so the first step is to work out in what order you’ll tackle them. Burning platforms, such as old technology systems, are good candidates for places to start,” he outlined. 

“As are initiatives that could be used to fund other activities, such as e-billing. Building connections with other business units, such as finance, technology and human resources is also vital.  You’ll need their support to achieve your goals.”


Stepping into such a role also requires being able to navigate a “myriad of legal technology solutions on the market”, Mr Leibu continued.

“The range is huge and is constantly changing. Solutions offered by different providers often overlap with each other. In this environment, it’s very difficult to work out what you need,” he said.

“My expectation is that the market will experience consolidation over time, resulting in less fragmentation and more integrated offerings. If I’m right, things will get easier for legal ops professionals.”

When asked what works and doesn’t work when it comes to leading a legal ops team he said that – like with any leadership role – “it’s important to motivate staff, foster collaboration, communicate regularly and generate interesting work that is valuable to the organisation.

“Hiring the right people, and ensuring the team is appropriately resourced, is important for long-term success,” he posited.

Looking forward, Mr Leibu said, there are “many opportunities” to look forward to for leaders in legal ops, given the “fantastic support” coming from those across this niche community.

“There are many opportunities to connect that simply didn’t exist even a few years ago. Here in Australia there is the annual CLOC Institute and regular CLOC regional meetings, the ACC conference, the Legal Innovation & Tech Festival and many other smaller conferences and meet-ups,” he said. 

“The community is inclusive, experienced and helpful. There has not been a better time than now to get into legal operations.”

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