From the moment I stepped into the beautiful Bellagio Hotel and Casino for CLOC 2019 Vegas Institute, there was a wow factor that no one could deny.
While not new to the Bellagio, I was new to CLOC – this was the first conference I have been able to attend. When CLOC launched its first conference in 2016, there were many unknowns about the organization and also the power and influence this conference would have. Here are my takeaways from CLOC 2019:
The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization that helps legal operations professionals and others optimize the legal service delivery models required to support the needs of law departments. The organization is comprised of 2,303 members across 45 countries including, but not limited to the U.S., UK, Australia and Canada. Its membership represents 65 Fortune 100 companies, 182 Fortune 500 companies and 242 of the Fortune 1000. The organization has seen a continuous increase in membership registrations year over year. If your goal is to connect with legal operations professionals, the buck stops here.
Stats matter, and the numbers are evidence of influence and growth. There was an 80 percent increase in CLOC Vegas Institute registration from 2017 to 2018 and a 55 percent increase from 2018 to 2019. CLOC staff claims that this year they had more than 2,300 attendees present and 46 percent as in-house legal representatives.
I attended the press conference with the CLOC board of directors, which includes Mary Shen O’Carroll, director, legal operations, technology and strategy, Google; Jason Barnwell, assistant general counsel – legal business, operations and strategy, Microsoft; Christine Coats, vice president of legal operations, Oracle; Mike Haven, senior director, ACG and head of legal operations, Gap Inc.; Lisa Konie, senior director of legal operations, Adobe; Aine Lyons, VP and deputy general counsel, worldwide legal operations, VMware; Jamal Stockton, head of legal innovation and digital enablement, Fidelity; and, Brian Hupp, CLOC board member. The message from the board – all volunteers – was clear: The organization is invested in the legal community. It encourages connections and breaking down barriers between practitioners and service and technology providers. This enables people to learn from each other and will propel and push boundaries to elevate the industry as a whole.
Technology is changing very rapidly, and staying on track with it is a collective job, meaning CLOC, legal service and technology providers, consultants, media and other practitioners all need to help guide and educate and get everyone to the next level. I have seen technology and service companies come into the legal industry expecting big wins right off the bat from a trade show, email campaign or a PPC advertising campaign. When success doesn’t arrive overnight, they often get frustrated and leave the industry. What they don’t know or have the patience to understand is that this is not the legal operations or legal practitioners’ fault for not immediately buying into a new technology or system, but it is the industry’s nature, historically, to avoid risk and only make change happen once something is tried and true. Leaning on an organization that encourages education, collaboration and betterment, like CLOC, brings peace of mind when making a decision for change.
As an executive director of Women in eDiscovery, I understand how much volunteer time goes into running an organization of this size. There are countless hours, increasing demands, growing pains and also a lot of excitement for the future and what could be! I feel that CLOC has done a tremendously successful job at the institute and look forward to how they will continue to improve things for its members and constituents alike.
I met up with a good number of Edge current, past and hopefully future clients (you know who you are!), and the overall feedback I received regarding the conference, exhibiting, educational content and networking opportunities was positive. There were some complaints about not fitting everyone into a room for some sessions, but I say demand is good. Get there ahead of time or you might not get a seat! Meaningful conversations between our legal technology and service provider clients and CLOC members were prevalent. This makes me believe that the first and foremost goals of CLOC of networking, connecting and thinking are truly happening … which is a good thing!
CLOC 2020 Vegas Institute is scheduled for May 14-16, 2020, at the Bellagio, and I look forward to anteing up to experience it once again.