In what could turn out to be one of the most significant events this year for European legal technology vendors attempting to expand their presence within the corporate legal sector, Corporate Legal Operations Consortium – better known to the market as CLOC – will launch in Europe at the end of February, led by VMware’s vice president & deputy general counsel for worldwide legal operations, Áine Lyons.

The influential US organisation, which is driving change in the world of corporate legal operations and has united the leaders of many of the largest in-house legal teams and technology companies across the States, will shortly launch its European ‘chapter’ in the UK, with the first meeting due to take place at BT’s London offices on 27 February.

Attendees will include legal operations heads and one or two interested general counsel from a long list of major corporates including Vodafone, Santander, Shell, Lloyds Banking Group and Cisco. Connie Brenton, CLOC’s president and CEO and legal operations lead at NetApp, will attend the meeting in February to formally introduce the organisation, which she co-founded over seven years ago alongside Stephanie Corey – then chief of staff and senior legal operations director at HP.

CLOC is now widely regarded in the US as the ‘go-to’ organisation for legal operations best practices, know-how and benchmarking. Lyons told Legal IT Insider: “It started out almost as a book club and had companies like Cisco, most of which were just starting out. I went because it has such a collaborative spirit and unlike other organisations we share an awful lot of content, best practice and time.”

CLOC now has 10 regional chapters across the US, including Chicago, Boston, New York, Seattle and San Francisco. There are plans afoot to launch a Middle East chapter.

The growth of the organisation mirrors the growth in the legal operations role: in a 2016 survey by the Association of Corporate Counsel, it emerged that 48% of legal teams now have legal operations staff – double the figure in 2015.

It was in San Francisco on 2-4 May last year that CLOC ran its first ‘Institute’ – a conference that it plans to repeat in the UK. Writing about the Institute in a Riverview Law blog, Riverview’s CEO Karl Chapman said: “And now we have CLOC. An organisation that, with momentum and great timing, helps facilitate and stimulate eco-system change. When people look back in 10-15 years I suspect that 2-4 May 2016 will be seen as one of the key milestones in the transition of the legal market. The legend on the timeline will simply say ‘CLOC Institute May 2016, San Francisco’ but this will understate the significance of what has just happened.”

This article first appeared in Legal IT Insider February newsletter – you can sign up for your free copy here: http://www.legaltechnology.com//latest-newsletter/