What are the skills needed to become a Legal Operations Manager?

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"I loved solving problems and finding creative ways to make legal teams work even more efficiently and intelligently." Jenn McCarron, Head of Legal Operations at Netflix.

Solve problems creatively to make legal teams work more efficiently and intelligently. That's the Legal Ops mindset. 

And while waiting for an academic training to appear, in the next 5-10 years, we will not be trained as Legal Ops, we will become so by ourselves. Through experience, through knowledge acquisition, through related training and in a self-taught way.

State of mind, legal ops skills (technical and interpersonal) and qualities required.

Here is what we think you will be expected to do if you want to become a Legal Ops.

Let's start with a Disclaimer

One becomes a Legal Ops by acquiring a series of skills, soft and hard skills that promote our ability to carry out the missions that make up the daily life of a Legal Operations Manager, Specialist, etc... But what is the panoply of skills of the Legal Ops?

Our approach is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but can help you build an overview of key competencies. In fact, if any are missing, do not hesitate to suggest them to us so that we can discuss them.

In any case, here are the 4 categories of competences drawn up by the Legal Ops Commission of the AFJE, our team and fed by the feedback of Legal Ops in position. These elements will help you define the framework of your Legal Ops job description.

  1. State of mind
  2. Assets
  3. Interpersonal skills
  4. Technical skills

📗 Back to basics: Legal Operations, what is it?

What is the mindset of Legal Ops?

Nothing better than Emilie Letocart-Calame's straight talk to describe the Legal Ops mindset 👇

Legal Ops mindset qualifiers:

  • Innovative
  • Effective
  • Doer
  • Positive
  • Dynamics
  • Autonomous
  • Open-minded
  • Empathetic
  • Flexible and agile
  • Creative and structured
  • Visionary
  • Determined

What are the assets and qualities required in a Legal Ops?

Here are some qualifiers for the strengths of Legal Ops:

  • Force of proposal and initiative
  • Problem solver - Problem solver
  • Organizational skills
  • State of mind focused on action, testing, feedback, taking a step back
  • Human-centered
  • Data-driven and focused on results and goal achievement
  • Strong appeal for optimization
  • Communicator - Showcases the work done by his team

What are the technical skills of Legal Ops?

Here are some qualifiers for the technical skills of Legal Ops:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Mastery of project management
  • Knowledge of the legaltech ecosystem, of the software environment supporting legal departments
  • Ability to promote the Legal Department internally and externally
  • Management of priorities according to the needs of the Legal Department / Internal Clients
  • Mastery of basic office automation tools
  • Knowledge or mastery of plain legal language and legal design
  • Ability to provide training
  • Knowledge or mastery of departmental budget management

What are the interpersonal skills of Legal Ops?

Here are some qualifiers for the interpersonal skills of Legal Ops:

  • Leading and supporting change
  • Empathy, emotional intelligence
  • Teamwork, collaboration, ability to receive feedback
  • Interact at all levels of the company (horizontal and vertical)
  • Adapting your communication to your interlocutors
  • Leadership, influence
  • Cross-functional management

How to spot a Legal Ops profile?

They know the business issues of their Legal Department inside out, and moreover they are often former lawyers.

They have a great knowledge of the legaltech environment and know how to diagnose organization and operational efficiency in order to find digital solutions adapted to the problems encountered.

They also have skills in areas other than law, such as finance, project management, marketing and communication, data analysis and continuing education.

In short, these are great "lawyers" who are more passionate about organization, departmental efficiency, innovation and digitalization, which will enable the management of the Legal Department, than about pure legal matters on a day-to-day basis, even if some of them still wear two hats.


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