Lyft Inc. added its first legal operations professional less than a year ago. Since then, this legal ops team of one has overhauled the company’s contract management process, improved efficiencies for the legal department and has made Lyft’s in-house attorneys more accessible to the rest of the company.
Frances Pomposo became head of legal ops at Lyft in December 2016 after more than six years at Adobe Systems Inc. She said as Lyft’s first ops hire, her job is “basically starting from ground zero” by establishing the function and educating people on what it is.
Pomposo has built legal ops up quickly. She has, for one, tackled the company’s approach to contracts with the implementation of a new contract management system in September of this year. This process has created a number of efficiencies for Lyft’s in-house attorneys, from providing a clear look at contracts across the company to offering the ability to create instant nondisclosure agreements.
“From an organization perspective, it’s given us the ability to have one place where all our contracts live, and not just depend on business partners to send them to us after they’re executed or hunt them down after the process is over,” Pomposo said. “So that means, if we ever have to do a search, or basically understand what we’ve agreed to … we’re able to do that and guarantee that all our contracts are there.”
And with the new approach to NDAs, a lot of the back-and-forth correspondence that used to take place has been eliminated, according to Pomposo. It used to be that a business partner would reach out to the legal department asking for an NDA when it wanted to engage with a company or an individual, she explained. And then, she said, legal would fill it out, send it to the business partner, and changes might be made and “maybe eventually, it would trickle back to legal, but you never know.”
Now, Pomposo said, there’s an e-form that can be filled out by the person who needs it; if no changes are necessary, it can be sent instantly to the business partner or external party and is automatically filed in the contract management system.
In her short tenure with the company, Pomposo has also improved the legal department’s accessibility on the company’s intranet. Where the legal department previously didn’t really have a presence, on Lyft’s internal pages, a company-facing legal site, launched in March, features information about each of the teams within legal and provides guidance materials and contact information for the attorneys so employees know who to contact for specific matters.
Looking ahead, Pomposo said the biggest initiative for Lyft legal ops is ensuring that legal scales with the company and that its accessible enough so “people know how to get the services they need” from the department.