Four Takeaways from Day One of Symposium 2021

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As legal teams have become more accustomed to working within the confines of a pandemic-restricted world, they continue to find new ways to innovate. Legility’s Symposium 2021 illustrates how the times have changed – and quickly.

The focus of Day One has been all about the lawyer: How lawyers work best, improve processes and measure success, learn to be more productive with fewer resources, and plan for the future. As Heather McGowan, our keynote speaker, pointed out: “We are in the human capital era: An era in which we realize that humans are assets to develop, rather than costs to contain.”

Day One featured these key insights from our internationally renowned groups of panelists:

1. Legal teams are working smarter, not harder

A welcome effect of the pandemic, if there can be one, has been that in some instances, innovation won over complacency. The tools, technology, and legal managed services needed to drive efficiency and innovation into legal processes have always existed – legal teams just needed to learn how to use them to their best advantage. Forward-looking legal leaders discussed how they deployed these tools, workflows, and unique business models to better track legal team effectiveness – from legal operations and eDiscovery to contract management and data preservation.

Turn obstacles into opportunities with managed legal services solutions

2. Use metrics to measure (and improve) success

Part of the Human Capital Era involves knowing what a lawyer or a legal team is worth, as well as what it costs. Teams want the best-possible in-house counsel and hiring for those competitive positions opens discussions to diversity, wellness, pro bono opportunities, and mentoring. 

Legal teams in today’s challenging environment have learned to understand the business of running a law department. Implementing smart metrics keeps leaders informed, ensures they are focusing their resources on what’s most important to the firm or company, and helps them hit their targets.  

3. Agile legal teams remain viable even in lean times

Several of today’s panels discussed working – and remaining – flexible through lean times. The pandemic has pushed legal teams to look closely at key strategic initiatives to determine what legal work is critical, what can be deprioritized, and what can be reassigned to lower-cost resources or outsourced entirely. Analytical processes have been key to maintaining efficiencies and flexibility.

4. Plan for what lies ahead

Much of Day One’s agenda looked forward, to a post-pandemic legal reality:

  • Speakers spoke of a continuing increased focus on proportionality mandates. In fact, the recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure placed even more focus on proportionality. Legal teams will need to strategize for future increase in cost-shifting or proportionality and how teams will need to strategize for these potential occurrences.
  • Legility’s Lee Holcomb spoke of the increasing need for self-care and mindfulness in lawyers’ work and personal lives, and led attendees through 15 minutes of mid-day mindfulness yoga tailored to lawyers.
  • A panel comprising top law firm and IP litigation management practitioners based in Asia-Pacific spoke about what lies ahead for intellectual property, international arbitration, and other regulatory and eDiscovery considerations.
Legal teams must understand the business of running a law department. Implementing smart metrics keeps leaders informed, ensures they are focusing resources on what’s most important, and helps them hit their targets.

Legal agility is more important than ever

Read more about navigating an increasingly remote, changing legal world here.

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