Business services professionals typically account for up to half the total head count of global law firms. These professionals have been supporting the internal operations of their law firms for decades. Over this time, they have developed and honed a valuable “business of law” skillset that meets the needs of lawyers worldwide. These capabilities span far and wide, including technology and legal technology tools, training, information governance, knowledge management, data analytics, process design and legal project management solutions.
Corporate law departments within many organizations are now building their own legal operations teams to meet the needs of general counsel tasked with setting up, managing and maintaining the operations of the legal function. This article tells a story of the change journey at Shearman & Sterling, where the firm is productizing some of its business services capabilities for the benefit of its clients’ law departments, along with lessons learned and a framework showing how other law firms can capitalize on often untapped capabilities that are highly valued by clients.