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ACC Hosts 4th Annual Legal Operations Conference

Photo: ACC staff at the 4th Annual ACC Legal Operations Conference.

T he 4th Annual ACC Legal Operations Conference took place in Chicago, Illinois from June 11 - 13. The conference convened leaders of corporate legal department operations, including those who run outside counsel or manage business aspects, such as vendors, finance, project, and technology.

Those new to legal operations — a growing majority in this burgeoning field — had the opportunity to sharpen their skills at the pre-conference boot camp. The main conference kicked off with a roundtable discussion among four general counsel who discussed their different approaches to driving value for the business — from radical outsourcing at DXC to value-based pricing models for external spending at Medtronic to the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology at Walmart.

As the conference progressed, attendees learned about how to use the ACC Maturity Model for the Operations of a Legal Department ( to benchmark and gain alignment on priorities, as well as how to apply the toolkits working groups have assembled for key functions such as project, process, and knowledge management.

More advanced participants delved into blockchain and AI, taking advantage of "shark tank" styled vendor pitch sessions to check out interesting new technology options. Plus, a working session with law firm counterparts produced interesting ideas on ways to improve value in the firm-client relationship, such as by measuring total case cost (including outcomes) and ridding the law firm of the billable hour as the default performance metric.

Given the leadership role of legal operations professionals in rolling out new ways for people, process, and technology to be deployed to optimize legal services, more than one session provided opportunities to hone change management skills. Lastly, the closing session was an open conversation about how to help legal departments evolve in a quickly changing environment.

Plans are already well underway for the 2019 ACC Xchange on April 28-30, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The gathering will combine the Legal Operations and Mid-Year Meeting into ACC's 2nd largest annual conference focused on advancing law department management and career development.

 ACC Legal Operations Conference attendees mingle at the welcome reception

Photo: ACC Legal Operations Conference attendees mingle at the welcome reception.

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