Legalops Café: The One About "The Golden Path"

of Client Self-Service Processes


The Legalops Café is an online meetup hosted by Tabled for legal operations professionals looking to network and share insights.


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In July’s session of the Legalops Café, we discussed the benefits and practicalities of creating standard self-service processes for legal workflows meaning the legal or compliance team don’t have to be involved every time.


Our guest speaker was Richard Hamilton who shared some insights into how he has been approaching this as Legal Operations Manager at Compusoft.  Here are the key takeaways:

Legalops Cafe Self-Service


What is a ‘Golden Path’



Richard’s inspiration for the ‘Golden Path’ comes from the Dune sci-fi novels. In those stories, the ‘Golden Path’ is an all-encompassing map of the future setting out all possible iterations of the future and revealing which of these paths gives humanity its best chance of survival.  Nothing too deep then!


In the context of legal operations, the idea is to identify the conditions in which a particular pre-approved workflow e.g. the conclusion of a particular contract – can and should be concluded by the business by following a self-service process or ‘Golden Path’, without the need for involvement from the legal team.



Why create self-service processes?


  • Reduce workload for the legal team.
  • Enable faster (and more cost effective) delivery of business objectives.
  • Position the legal team as ‘enablers’ as opposed to ‘blockers’.
  • Free up time for legal and business stakeholders that can be better spent collaborating on higher-value / more strategic matters.


Richard’s tips for building successful self-service processes:


  • Turn the conventional approach of process > people > tech on its head. Start with the technology, build the solution first and embed the controls into it. If not, people will always find ways to ‘game the system’. 
  • To reach consensus on standardisation requires bringing multiple different stakeholders together. There’s no feasible way to make this happen without centralised project management and a project manager who is suitably empowered to finalise and enforce the process.
  • Ensure stakeholders understand the consequences of deviating from the standard process. An obvious example is highlighting the delay they will cause by involving the legal team. If there are repeat offenders, you might focus their minds by suggesting that dealing with constant bespoke requests and requirements may require the creation of a dedicated resource which would need to be funded from their own budget.
  • Keep it simple. The standard process must be based on rules, not judgments. Anything that is ‘case by case’ is a blocker to standardisation.
  • At least one person in your organisation must be a ‘super user’ with direct access to and control over the systems which power your standard processes. If you need to rely on a third party the cost, delay and difficulty that come with that can quickly derail the entire process.


Continue the conversation


Discussions around setting up client self-service portals using Tabled, effectively triage, prioritise and manage legal work and projects are of course close to our hearts at Tabled and if you are interested in these topics you might also enjoy our blog posts on the Legal Front Door, Matter Management and how to become a more data-driven legal team.



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