- Most legal operations teams have between one and four individuals and have been around for three to five years, according to a report from NetDocuments and Above the Law.
- Despite the small size of these units, 63% of survey respondents said their team has grown in the last three years, with the rest saying their team stayed the same size. Additionally, more than half of the respondents whose organizations don’t currently have a dedicated legal ops team are considering adding one.
- Longstanding legal ops departments exist at organizations of all sizes, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits, said the report featuring surveys conducted earlier this year.
The developing field of legal operations is poised to grow further in the years to come as a wide array of organizations expand their teams or launch new ones.
These professionals specialize in helping legal departments and the other business units they work with achieve greater efficiency, more effectively use technology and problem-solve, among other tasks.
Along those lines, the reasons surveyed legal professionals cited for planning to add a legal ops team included to improve efficiency, enhance data reporting and drive cost-savings.
As for departments that already have legal ops functions, 37% of survey respondents said their teams feature between two and four people and the same percentage said they have just one dedicated legal ops professional.
Approximately 19% of respondents said their legal ops teams have between five and ten professionals, and another 7% said they have more than 10.
“Of the businesses with legal ops teams of five or more people, more than half are Fortune 500 corporations and the others are large or medium-sized companies,” the NetDocuments and Above the Law report said.
The companies with the largest number of people in legal ops on average include insurance, biotech/pharma, technology, and telecommunications businesses, all of which averaged at least five professionals.
Meanwhile, the report said the length of time an organization has had a legal ops function doesn’t seem to correlate with the size or type of the organization.
Roughly 37% of respondents said they have had a legal ops team between three and five years, with another 25% employing legal ops professionals for six years or more.
Further highlighting the developing nature of the industry is that 30% of respondents said they have only had a legal ops team for a year or two.
Both legal operations professionals and in-house counsel were surveyed about the legal ops functions within their departments between April and May.
The NetDocuments and Above the Law report will be the focus of a webinar the two organizations are hosting on Tuesday, September 27 at 1 p.m. EST.