24 May 2022
Legal operations and innovation: an alternative legal career path
By Isabella Beischer, Legal Operations Graduate
Not everyone completes their degree eager to immerse themselves in the world of billable hours, (virtual) court rooms and legal research.
After graduating, I was uncertain about my career path. My peers had taken the traditional route, completing clerkships the previous year, and were now rotating through practice groups such as property and tax at their chosen law firms.
While this was the road most travelled, and despite my keen interest in the law, I was not convinced that a traditional legal career was for me. It wasn’t until I saw the Legal Operations Graduate position advertised at Hall & Wilcox that I realised there were other opportunities out there.
You don’t have to be a tech wiz to be a legal ops grad
A career in Legal Operations isn’t reserved only for software engineers. What will help is a passion for innovation and an enthusiasm for learning new concepts.
While strong analytical skills and attention to detail honed by my law degree have been useful in this role, effective communication skills coupled with a people-centric approach has been essential. An ability to build rapport and establish effective working relationships across practice groups in the firm has also been crucial for initiating change.
Innovation: the combination of people, process and technology
In the Client Solutions team, innovation is at the heart of what we do. But innovation doesn’t just involve implementing cutting-edge technology; it can be a new process that increases productivity or a new system for delivering information or advice. It’s also about transforming behaviours and mindsets, so lawyers are open to adopting new ways of working.
But change is hard. As a collective, lawyers can be apprehensive towards new technologies, which are unfamiliar and may take time to test or tweak. That’s why perseverance and an ability to educate, persuade and motivate are important skills for this role.
A key focus of my role is to encourage our lawyers to incorporate Smarter Law initiatives into their daily work practices. We achieve this by delivering presentations and workshops and publishing communications on the firm’s website (for clients) and intranet (for our people).
I have learnt to navigate a variety of client-facing portals and systems and to research new products that will help resolve problems. However, real and measurable value can also be achieved by repurposing existing technologies and tools already at our disposal.
Building a career in Smarter Law
Choosing to build a career in Legal Operations is the best decision I’ve made. Playing a part in reimagining how legal services are delivered to satisfy contemporary client needs is both exciting and rewarding. I enjoy the innovation journey and collaborating with people from different practice groups to bring an idea to life.
My team is people-focused and I value that. Through our culture of continuous improvement we are constantly developing ways to enhance the user experience and simplify legal processes for both lawyers and clients.
Other benefits of working in Legal Ops include the skills you develop in a variety of areas – project management, business analysis and change management, to name a few.
If you want to be part of a culture where trying new things is both celebrated and rewarded, then Legal Operations is the team for you.