Exploring legal operations trends in 2024: Insights from industry experts 

Emerging technologies like generative AI are reshaping the legal operations landscape, presenting new challenges and opportunities for legal departments.

The legal operations profession is evolving rapidly. With emerging technologies such as generative AI (Gen AI) reshaping the landscape, legal departments are navigating new challenges and opportunities and are taking on more strategic work within the enterprise.  

To shed light on these changes, the Corporate Counsel Business Journal (CCBJ) recently partnered with Agiloft and Mitratech to conduct a survey among legal professionals. The findings of that survey were the topic of a recent webinar CCBJ hosted featuring Prashant Dubey, Chief Strategy Officer at Agiloft; Brian McGovern, Executive Director of Corporate and Legal Claims at Mitratech; and Liz Lugones, Vice President of Professional Services at Mitratech. 

Click here to watch the full webinar, or read on for highlights from their discussion. 

Who we surveyed

The survey polled 125 U.S.-based legal professionals representing a diverse range of legal department sizes. The predominant industries of the respondents were technology, healthcare, biotech/pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and banking and finance.  

The survey respondents’ job titles were as follows:  

  • 28% C-Suite executives (CLOs, CEOs, COOs, etc.) 
  • 23% Managers, associates, or counsels  
  • 22% Legal operations-specific roles (Head of Legal Ops, VP, Director, etc.) 
  • 13% General Counsels  
  • 7% “Other” 
  • 5% Assistant or associate General Counsels 

Here are the top 5 takeaways from the webinar:

The survey results highlighted respondents’ reliance on internal web portals (42%), document management systems (41%), and e-billing and litigation support (39%). These technologies enable legal departments to streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and gain valuable insights from data

Lugones said she wasn’t surprised to see that the top choice was an internet portal. In her consulting experience, she primarily worked with small to medium-sized legal departments, and this was often her starting point. Companies typically begin by leveraging existing resources and then expand from there, she said.  

“Usually, you probably have a SharePoint site [and] you’re using it either for document management or storing information, and you are disseminating information out to your business partners as basically who’s who within the legal department from contacts,” she said.  

Clients frequently ask how they can expand this setup to be more efficient and integrate it into their legal service delivery model, she said. Using workflow technology within the internet portal can facilitate automated FAQs, self-service contracting, and other approval processes.  

2. The rise of GenAI

A significant portion of the discussion focused on the adoption of AI and GenAI technologies. While 34% of legal departments are experimenting with GenAI, 21% are taking a wait-and-see approach, and 19% have no plans to use it.  

That’s not surprising, the panelists unanimously agreed. 

“What I have seen certainly in the last year is that there is a lot of GenAI curiosity, and not a lot of hunger to be the first one to dive into it,” Lugones said. “Because there is, just by nature they are lawyers, they’re trained to manage risk and try to prevent as much of it. And there is concern around the risk around it, I think depending on the industry that you’re in, that appetite and the need to ensure that from an information security perspective.” 

McGovern added: “That makes a ton of sense for legal departments. Legal departments are risk-adverse. They’re the keepers or the minimizers of risk for organizations.”  

Despite these risks, the panelists emphasized what Lugones called the “transformative” potential of AI to streamline processes and improve decision-making.  

“Any use of technology that enables the legal mind and speeds up the analysis of information to be able to give legal advice faster … is quite beneficial,” she said. “I don’t think lawyers today or any legal professional today can avoid but lean into it and figure out how to incorporate that into their daily practice.” 

The survey results revealed that legal departments are increasingly seen as trusted allies within their organizations. This shift in perception underscores the importance of strategic partnerships and collaboration with other business units to drive success. 

“A lot of the professionals in the industry today, whether they’re practicing lawyers or they’re legal operations professionals who may or may not be lawyers, perceive themselves as not just intra-legal aficionados,” Dubey said. “They perceive themselves as a broader part of the business, which I think is a really important trend.” 

4. The changing role of the General Counsel

General counsel are no longer viewed solely as risk adjudicators, but as strategic partners who contribute to business decisions, Dubey said.  
“The fact that a general counsel is now viewing themselves as somebody that can enable greater revenue and faster revenue recognition and deal acceleration, is a relatively new discipline,” he said. “And it comes back to there’s a lot of data that is contained within the legal organization and within processes where legal is very much a steward.”  
For example, a legal operations professional could use their contract lifecycle management (CLM) software to answer tough questions like: “Can I do dynamic revenue recognition consistent with ASC 606?” While that might be a question typically reserved for the CFO, this information is readily available to legal operations professionals within their CLM. 

Looking ahead, the panelists discussed the evolving landscape of legal operations, including the integration of new technologies, managing costs, and the continuous push for efficiency.  
The hype of AI aside, the legal operations professional is built on the foundation of solid contract management, including the use of a centralized contract repository.  

“We talk about all the exciting things some can do with applying GenAI and contract management. Yet I’ll tell you, most of the organizations, 90 plus percent of the companies we go into, industry agnostic, size agnostic, still do not have a single source of truth repository of fully executed contracts with metadata extracted,” he said. “That’s table stakes for contract management.” 

Dubey reminded the panelists about the “reality” of performing legal operations roles day to day, “which is there is just a lot of tactical operational work,” he said. That’s why it’s so important that your legal tech stack works for you. 


The insights shared by industry experts highlight the increasing importance of technology, data-driven decision making, and the evolving role of legal professionals within organizations. As legal departments continue to embrace these trends, they will be better positioned to drive business success and provide strategic value to their organizations. 

Recent Posts