One of the emerging trends of the past decade is the rise of the legal department operations manager ("LDO manager"), who reports directly to general counsel, and oversees the operational and managerial aspects of the law department, according to the Association of Corporate Counsel. In doing so, a general counsel has more time to devote to leadership, counseling and strategy.
But what exactly do LDO managers do? Their tasks are ever evolving, but can be broken up into three main categories: finance, technology, and project management.
One of the most important responsibilities of the LDO manager is to manage costs and expenses. The LDO manager must ensure that budgets are met, and is often the liaison between the legal department and the finance department. Since budgeting and forecasting are key responsibilities, it falls to the LDO manager to deal with vendors and outside counsel as it relates to billing, policy and financial concerns, according to the ACC.
The LDO manager oversees the technological aspects of the law department such as the resources the law department uses, namely for billing, research, archives, discovery, and matter management. The LDO manager is the legal department's face when dealing with the IT department, and they work together to integrate the legal department's systems with the company's systems as a whole, reports the ACC.
LDO managers are tasked with the day-to-day management of the legal department's operations, in addition to overseeing special projects as they come up. One important area is evaluating the legal department, analyzing performance metrics, establishing goals, and developing plans to meet those goals. Because the LDO manager takes on many of the non-legal responsibilities, attorneys and GC are freed up to deal with more substantive legal issues.
LDO Managers are here to stay, and are a hot ticket right now in the legal industry. With the likes of Google and LinkedIn currently looking to fill these positions, this is one area of the legal market that is booming.
Discover more insights from Gabriella and other in-house professionals on the FindLaw In House Blog.
Gabriella Khorasanee is an attorney with experience in antitrust and employment discrimination law, as well as former law clerk for Hon. Russell M. Nigro of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. She writes for several FindLaw® legal professional blogs.