Gazing Into the Crystal Ball

By Sue Reisinger

Steve Harmon, the vice president of legal and deputy general counsel at Cisco Systems Inc. in San Jose, California, remembers his reluctance when his boss approached him 12 years ago about becoming a legal operations specialist. Harmon knew of no other lawyer in the country in a comparable role.

“My general counsel, Mark Chandler, was outspoken and progressive about it,” Harmon recalls. “It took some persuading on his part to convince me it was a viable career path.” Today Harmon is a co-founder and leader of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, and he notes that Chandler “has been proven right.”

CLOC’s explosive growth over the past few years, from a small group—Harmon likened it to a “book club” five or so years ago—to a powerhouse of over 1,300 members in 2018, is a testament to just how right Chandler was. CLOC’s expansion has been driven not only by rapid advancements in legal technology but also by corporations’ desire to see legal departments run more like businesses.

The legal ops and tech frenzy also can be seen in the plethora of related conferences. No fewer than eight legal tech gatherings were scheduled for the fall of 2018. Most focus on the latest trends in e-discovery, e-billing and matter management.

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