Legal Operations: Building High-Performing Legal Teams

10 May 2023

In-House legal departments are under more pressure than ever to reduce costs, improve performance, and provide top-quality work. To achieve these objectives, leaders in legal operations can begin building higher-performing teams through optimization by focusing on these three key aspects: optimizing and maintaining organizational health, practicing operational efficiency, and training and developing the legal department.

In part two of our five-part Legal Ops blog series, we’ll take a look at ways to build a high-performance legal team.

Optimizing And Maintaining Organizational Health

To achieve success, building a motivated and efficient team is crucial. Many in-house legal departments are formed without a clear overall vision, which results in hiring for short-term necessity rather than considering long-term effectiveness and overall fit. To create and support a balanced, driven, and high-impact legal team, legal operations leaders should aim to:

  • Bring a strong overall vision to their team.
  • Develop an unbiased, fair hiring process that results in a diverse and effective team.
  • Motivate their best employees by providing promotions and special opportunities.
  • Prioritize their team’s well-being by focusing on work/life balance and mental health initiatives.
  • Establish a talent pool by investing in mentoring, internship programs, and succession planning.

Practice Operations

It is crucial to enable lawyers to focus on practicing law and reduce their distractions from operational tasks and projects. To create flexible, efficient teams trained and experienced in practice-specific operations such as eDiscovery, contracts management, IP management, and more, legal operations leaders must:

  • Lower costs by enabling legal teams to focus on the highest-value tasks.
  • Understand current challenges and needs to identify opportunities to streamline inefficiencies.
  • Create better outcomes and higher quality through specialization.
  • Bring more speed and efficiency to overall legal output.

Training and Development

Providing teams with specific professional training is crucial for any department to succeed. To design high-quality targeted training, legal operations leaders must:

  • Design and implement a new hire experience.
  • Nurture a strong sense of culture through ongoing training.
  • Track and support CLE requirements across the team.
  • Implement certification programs that help staff build their career and capabilities.
  • Build skills and knowledge in emerging high-value disciplines.


You can have the best talent and technology, but legal departments won’t operate to their fullest potential if your teams aren’t effectively optimized. Great first steps for legal operations leaders are to build effective teams, streamline practice operations to enable lawyers to practice law and minimize distractions, and support their teams with targeted professional training. By focusing on these critical areas, legal operations leaders can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and deliver high-quality work to their organizations.