“Legal ops really has become a trend, because corporations are starting to finally treat the legal department like any other business entity. They’re wanting you to show the value,” said D. Beau Sylvester, who works in legal operations at Asurion. “What attorneys found out is they’re really good at practicing law. They’re not so good at practicing business.”
At Asurion, Sylvester has helped to build a legal operations department that improves processes and financial management in the legal department. Those improvements are especially important when urgent situations arise, such as government investigations and data breaches.
Schoeneck’s department at Accenture is trying to take a long view of data management, identifying the length of time data will need to be kept and how long it will be relevant. Schoeneck noted that the Sony hack, in which data that could have been disposed of was compromised, is a cautionary tale. “Keeping stuff around,” he said, “just really opens you up to expose yourself.”
George Tsunis, chairman and interim CEO of NuHealth System and chairman of Battery Park City Authority, takes a similar proactive approach to data and process management.
“Let’s spend a lot more time at the front end making sure that we’re anticipating possible potholes that people could fall into, whether it’s misfeasance or malfeasance, and you’ll have to spend a lot less time dealing with any detrimental issues,” he said. “The issues we’re discussing today – you don’t find them, they find you. And when they find you, they find you at the most inopportune time. It’s usually during a crisis.”
Legal ops, Sylvester said, needs to “have their finger on the pulse of what resource you need at any particular moment when you have a breach. What does that team need to be at triage to get things done? Have that playbook in place ahead of time.”
Learn more about Legal Operations