Layoffs of Legal Ops

Layoffs of Legal Ops Professionals and the Key to Avoid Them: Legal Technology Trends

In these uncertain economic times, layoffs – including layoffs of legal ops professionals – are frequent. Here’s the key to avoid them.

Football coach “Bum” Phillips once said: “There are two types of head coaches – those who have been fired and those who are gonna be.”

It seems that logic can be adapted to workers today – at any level of an organization. There are those who have been laid off and those who are “gonna” be (at some point). Nobody seems immune anymore.


While some people are laid off based on merit and performance, many people are laid off solely based on perceived impact to the bottom line. What does that mean for those considered to be in a non-revenue generating “admin” position? It means that they’re most vulnerable to being among the layoffs.

That includes layoffs of legal ops professionals. So, what’s the key to for legal ops avoid being part of a company layoff? Demonstrate return on investment (ROI) for what you’re doing.

For legal ops, the best place to look for opportunities to demonstrate ROI is the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) Core 12 functional model (available here and shown above). These twelve functional areas provide guidance regarding operational excellence within your legal ops team, and they provide plenty of opportunities to demonstrate ROI – if you can achieve the desired state for each of them. Here are a few examples:

  • Financial Management: A strong and sustainable approach to financial management can enable legal ops to bring more predictability and consistency to its budgeting and financial planning, which can lead to spotting new opportunities for savings and efficiency that impact the bottom line.
  • Firm & Vendor Management: The ability to do things like effectively negotiate rates and pricing models with firms and vendors that create positive incentives and on-board new vendors and firms quickly and efficiently also saves costs and improves value.
  • Information Governance: Reduction of risk is also a positive impact to ROI; for example, the role of legal ops in managing and monitor access to all sensitive, confidential, and restricted information within the organization.
  • Knowledge Management: One big risk resulting from layoffs is the loss of key knowledge possessed by departing employees. The role of legal ops in a knowledge management program that guards against loss of valuable knowledge caused by staff departures and role changes can be key in reducing that risk as well.
  • Practice Operations: More efficient practice operations within legal ops can lower costs by enabling legal teams to focus on the highest-value tasks and bring more speed and efficiency to overall legal output – both of which positively impact ROI.
  • Technology: Duh! Legal ops can help automate repetitive or time-consuming manual processes, support the decision-making process to determine where to build vs. where to buy and evaluate new vendors, suppliers, and solutions to maximize ROI.

Those are just a few examples of ways legal ops can demonstrate ROI. The ability to not only demonstrate ROI but also quantify ROI could reduce or even eliminate layoffs of legal ops professionals within your organization. No guarantees, but it’s your best defense.


So, what do you think? What other ways can legal ops demonstrate ROI? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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