Corporate Counsel, June 2017 1 SS
Never before have law department leaders been asked to
do so much. General Counsel in the U. K. and beyond have
been tasked with shepherding their corporations through an
increasingly volatile business environment while managing
the immense changes sweeping through the legal industry.
This report, supported by data collected from the UnitedLex
Business of Law Survey, shows that these two challenges are
forcing many law departments to rethink their approaches.
While corporate counsel continue to focus on the traditional
priorities of external risk management, there are signs that
law departments are becoming more inwardly focused.
At the same time, law departments
have gained in operational
complexity – which has
exacerbated such issues as cost
control, talent management, and
internal productivity. This report’s
findings suggest that these tasks,
which now all feature prominently
among law department leaders’
lists of top concerns, are general
counsel’s primary operational
challenges. (See table.)
The report is a combination of
research, including the results of the 2017 UnitedLex Business
of Law Survey and interviews with law department leadership.
Survey respondents came from a variety of backgrounds,
but typically held a crucial role within their law department.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents managed or influenced
their corporation’s legal budget. Sixty-five percent of
respondents held the title of general counsel.
This report suggests that law departments have made
significant progress in some area. Many, for example, have
boosted sophistication in managing external spend and
related issues. Law department leaders should celebrate
these successes as they shift their focus toward the new
challenge of internal optimisation.
Business of Law
What are the biggest challenges your legal department will face in the future?
Percentage of Respondents Reporting Issue As a Future Challenge
Globalisation of Legal Issues
Managing Legal Costs
Talent Development & Retention
Managing IT Spend
Identifying Tech to Drive Productivity
Source: UnitedLex 2017 Business of Law Survey