Legal ops to continue its growth trajectory
Legal operations “will only continue to take more of a centre stage within organisations”, says an award-winning ops professional.
More support is being thrown behind operations teams, with the line of work becoming an increasingly integral function within law firms.
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Eryn Bowles, the winner of Legal Operations Professional of the Year at the 2022 Australian Law Awards, spoke to Lawyers Weekly about the value that specialists can add in serving clients most effectively.
She has recently been appointed as chief operating officer with Lawcadia and will continue overseeing global legal operations and service delivery from the UK, with the Australia-founded tech company having just launched there.
Leading her team at Lawcadia, an in-house management platform for law firms and organisations, her win was a confirmation “that we have made a difference to our clients and their legal function”.
She argued that “internal stakeholders and CEOs want to delve into and understand where their money is being spent and why”.
“There is an excellent scope for achieving efficiencies and cost savings through utilising the knowledge and experience of legal operations professionals,” Ms Bowles said.
Specialists in the field are invaluable for their “significant experience to bring to the table that the entire organisation could utilise”, she explained.
“One of their main strengths is that they are focused on looking for opportunities in systems and efficiencies that other people may not see. The best practice for clients and teams is to bring them into the conversations early and harness that knowledge.
“As we move forward and the focus becomes more on efficiency, legal ops will play a more critical role. It may not be just legal ops in the future, as their operational skill set can be utilised across all business areas,” she said.
This past year, Ms Bowles noted that her recent success in the role required a “shift” in her thinking process.
“Instead of looking through the eyes of the client, software provider or law firm, I have focused on the problem and then asking, ‘what is the solution?’. Identifying the problem and finding the solution as the goal assists everybody in understanding the path we must travel to obtain a positive outcome,” she said.
The objectives for legal operations roles vary between organisations, and it continues to be a versatile vocation in the wake of differing needs from clients, Ms Bowles noted.
“Each company will have a different version of legal ops, legal workflows and legal analytics, because it needs to work for them. There are unlimited opportunities to assist various companies in finding their best legal operations and letting this shine through. That’s what I’m most excited about it and I love being part of that process,” she said.
Ms Bowles spoke about the increasing offering for operations roles within the legal profession, and she sees the dynamic line of work as rewarding when her team can “offer customised solutions for our clients as no two legal teams’ operations look the same”.
“I have gained a high level of personal satisfaction from my job as I genuinely love to help people. Moving forward, I believe there is an abundance of opportunities for Lawcadia.
“I’m very fortunate to work where I do,” she concluded.