HBR Consulting: How centers of excellence are accelerating efficiencies across the legal landscape
Across today’s legal ecosystem, a set of complex forces has pushed law firms to strategically reexamine and transform operational support in a way that places a greater emphasis and value on corporate client-facing activities. Cost pressures, new competitors and emerging technology, and evolving workforce dynamics are influencing an industry that is now embracing change in different ways.
As the pace of change accelerates, organizations need to acutely define their core competencies and align business strategies, talent and resources to truly differentiate in a hyper competitive market. For instance, general counsel (GCs) are finding great success in hiring legal operations leaders to implement and manage strategic initiatives to drive change and efficiency across structures, practice areas, technology and staffing. By transitioning work that had previously fallen on the shoulders of the GC to legal operations professionals, GCs are able to focus on core competencies, act as business advisors to the corporate board, and provide even greater counsel to their organizations.
Similarly, law firms are increasingly using business professionals to lead and sponsor initiatives and provide diversity of perspective. By acknowledging that there are benefits to bringing in accomplished business professionals from other industries to transform processes and implement technologies, firms are able to free up attorneys to focus more on clients. Furthermore, given the rise in alternatives to outside counsel, law firms must demonstrate differentiation and provide centers of excellence (CoE) beyond what corporate law departments can deliver inhouse. Shifting corporate client demands are challenging law firms to further define their core competency – the business of law – and leverage operational experts and centers of excellence to deliver their services in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
Forward-thinking law firms and law departments are now looking beyond internal staffing and cost-reduction strategies, and are pursuing strategic opportunities utilizing outside experts to manage those services that fall outside of their core capabilities. This enables organizations to focus on what matters most: their clients.