Consero's General Counsel Data Survey Results Examined

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on August 07, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We've already concluded that lawyers love surveys, and the latest attorney survey deals with the unique legal issues that general counsel face.

Executive conference organizer Consero surveyed 57 general counsel from Fortune 1000 companies to find out everything from top legal issues that have GCs staying up at night to legal departments' relationship with outside counsel.

Let's take a look at the results of Consero's 2014 General Counsel Data Survey:

While things in the traditional legal market seem gloomy, not so at in-house legal departments. Almost half (44 percent) of the GCs surveyed said their legal departments had increased, with only 12 percent claiming their legal departments decreased.

Not only that, but over half of respondents (51 percent) said their departmental budgets increased. We're thinking this can be attributed to the growing trend of keeping more work internal, and doling out less work to BigLaw.

Regarding the issues taking up most of GCs attention, there were no surprises.

Compliance and regulatory issues top the list with almost one-quarter (23 percent) saying that was the most important legal issue, with labor and employment and litigation matters following closely behind.

Though data privacy and security were at the top of only 12 percent of respondents' lists, almost half (49 percent) felt their company was not prepared to defend against data breaches -- even though only 23 percent had actually experienced a data breach in the previous 12 months.

While 65 percent of respondents said their company mitigated legal risk on social media with effective policies, a surprising 16 percent didn't have a social media policy in place. (GCs, take note: You need a social media policy.)

Relationship With Outside Counsel

General counsel seem to be happy with BigLaw, with 77 percent  viewing their relationship as positive, and 60 percent believing they get "sufficient value relative to ... [outside counsel] spend."

That said, a whopping 84 percent are not increasing the amount of work they give to outside counsel. Seems like alternative fee arrangements are indeed growing in popularity with more than half (58 percent) of general counsel using alternative fee arrangements with outside counsel.

After reviewing its results, Consero has come to similar conclusions as others: General counsel are playing an increasingly important role in the business of corporations. Not only are general counsel valued for their leadership of the legal department, but they are also utilized for their strategic thinking and their role as counselor in chief to the rest of the C-suite.

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