Episode 29

What’s Next for Legal Ops: Jenn McCarron, President of CLOC

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:00

  • Introducing Jenn McCarron, Director of Legal Operations & Technology at Netflix and president of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC). 
  • Hosting the Cloc Talk podcast.
  • Growing as Head of Legal Tech at Spotify and Senior Technology Program Manager at Cisco.

Advancing the legal ops industry at CLOC as President of the Board of Directors: 3:35

  • Re-ratifying the organization’s strategy, vision and mission to grow the legal ops profession.
  • Emphasizing the value of community, content, and conversation. 
  • Introducing a career framework for CLOC’s more than 7,000 members.

Getting started with CLOC: 7:22

  • Gathering the confidence to share your work to your bosses and peers.
  • Presenting at CLOC’s first NYC meetup in front of 50 other legal ops professionals from across the East Coast.
  • Leaving such a good impression that you are recruited for years to come.
  • Demonstrating the importance of community.

Unpacking the mindset of service and giving back: 11:21

  • Growing up in a service-oriented military and police household.
  • Considering a career in social work. 
  • Turning CLOC into a big tent community that encourages putting yourself out there.

Lessons learned as CLOC president: 14:23

  • Recognizing how long it takes for change to manifest within any system.
  • Book recommendation: Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission by Col. Eileen M. Collins, USAF.
  • Learning a complex system through failure and turbulence.
  • Understanding that tech is less simple than just hierarchy and doing what your bosses ask.

Advice for professionals getting their start in legal ops: 17:24

  • Worry less and understand that it’s all going to work out.
  • Sitting still for a while and allowing change to take shape.
  • Staying at a job unless it isn’t a good fit.
  • Incorporating mechanisms for reflection (like retros) into your professional life.
  • Improving your messages by always rewriting them.

Hiring detail-oriented staff with stakeholder management skills: 22:07

  • Knowing which core competencies you are capable of teaching. 
  • Understanding that communication skills can be improved but hires will still need to be able to execute a project.
  • Biasing towards project management skills.

Recommending platforms for learning project management skills: 26:04

  • Learning on the job from real business examples is always the best teacher.
  • Continuing mentorships through every stage of your career.
  • De-emphasizing certifications as the ultimate door opener.
  • Leaning on your community to teach you skills you don’t have yet.

Dealing with the loneliness of a one-of-one role: 30:25

  • Finding gaps in common language with members of other teams.
  • Using CLOC as a resource for discussion, solutions, and getting grounded.
  • Fighting back negative thinking and imposter syndrome by iterating on shared problems with your legal ops peers.

Legal ops as a business team vs legal ops as a legal team: 37:06

  • Considering whether slow adoption by legal will result in business taking over.
  • Stressing the importance of legal ops’ domain experience and ability to connect legal to tech.
  • Need legal experts in order to work with legal teams.

Focusing on the future: 41:02

  • Building a strong succession plan at Netflix.
  • Always taking calls from recruiters to understand how the job market is changing.
  • Discussing job structure and compensation changes in recruitment calls with your manager.
  • The importance of optionality in future career paths.
  • Holding roles where your manager lets you leave to tour in a play for six weeks.

Maintaining an after-hours music career: 46:47

  • Seeing pop songwriting as an exercise in simplifying.
  • Releasing a new song every month under the name “ønes.” 
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Jenn McCarron
President, CLOC

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