General Counsel Report 2022
Leading with Endurance Through Risk, Culture and Technology Challenges
Gain insights into the challenges faced by legal departments in the last few years due to the widening landscape of risk management, new responsibilities in culture and development and technology activation in the General Counsel Report 2022.
This report provides an in-depth look at the challenging demands that legal departments have navigated with endurance over the last two years, and presents a complete picture of how the role of GCs has evolved in this time.
Click through our sample survey below to measure yourself against your peers and then download a complimentary copy of the report to examine the data and its implications in depth.
Who Answered this Survey?
Respondent Organization Revenue
Respondent Organization Employee Count
Respondent Industry Type
Below is a small sample of questions posed in the complete survey. Choose your response to each question below to compare yourself against your peers.
Of these expanding areas of risks, which has been the most concerning to your legal department?
- Privacy, data protection, security and/or data risk
- Compliance and regulations
- COVID-19 business and workforce implications
- Technology modernization
*As indicated by qualitative responses. Multiple responses allowed.
Similarly to last year, about half of those surveyed were concerned by privacy, data and security risks, but compliance and regulations have become notable risks to 36% of those surveyed (this was not a mentioned issue last year).
“The problem is that there are multiple areas of tremendous risk. One is on the employee side because retention affects legal, especially if HR reports into legal…[Also], you cannot oversell the issues of data privacy, coupled with cybersecurity, which both are associated with data protection. It is not if, but when a breach will occur...”
On a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high), how prepared is your organization for information governance and data remediation?
Data protection is a clear mounting threat in the view of 46% of GC, but confidence in preparedness has declined steadily, and most areas are rated at a moderate or low level of preparedness. For example, in 2020, information governance and data remediation preparedness scored a 4.03 average amongst GC, but in 2022, the average was scored 3.2.
Many GC interviewed said they see the shift to remote work as a driver behind heightened levels of risk and a decrease in preparedness.
“Information security and data risks haven't changed, but have become more significant with employees working from home and the inability to implement the same controls as an organization could have while working from the office. Infosec risk is bigger than ever.”
Are you involved in health and/or people-related issues within your organization?
86% of GC and Chief Legal Officers report involvement in health and/or people-related issues within their organizations. Last year, many GC were thrust into leadership over employee health and safety, resource allocation and diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) initiatives. This year, they settled into those roles, but were also required to demonstrate adaptability and endurance to take on even more ownership over company culture, management and other HR-centric issues within the legal department and more broadly.
“The biggest change has been really understanding the wellness factor of the job. Historically, we have always known that it is a hard job and takes a lot in terms of meetings and travel, but since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on how people can be their best selves and work best.”
How has diversity, inclusion and belonging progress changed in your organization from previous years?
- We continue to make progress year-over-year
- Our plans have not progressed as much as we would have liked
- Our plans were never fully formalized or acted upon
- We continue to run our existing programs that were in place prior to 2020
100% of GCs surveyed have some role, oversight or priority focused on DIB initiatives for their company and/or legal department (up from 71% from the previous year), and 70% feel that they are on a steady track toward positive change in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
“I think of our role as carrying more weight. It is the right thing to do for the company as it is proven that more diverse teams get better results for the company. You cannot go wrong as the outspoken leader on this topic.”
Are you involved in technology planning and purchasing, and if so, how has your role changed from previous years?
- Yes, my role has increased from previous years
- Yes, but my role has not changed from previous years
- Yes, my role has decreased from previous years
- No, I am not involved
Technology buying decisions continue to be a part of the GCs day-to-day responsibilities, with 87% saying they are involved in technology planning and purchasing, beyond providing budget approval alone.
Although 74% say their role in this area has not changed from previous years, there have been slight shifts either due to the enhanced role the GC plays within most organizations or the appointment of more staff. For example, 13% said their involvement has increased over the last year, according to one partly because,
“The subject of technology has become more prominent.”
How did the pandemic impact technology modernization within your organization?
- Significantly sped up
- Somewhat sped up
- Somewhat slowed down
- No change
- Significantly slowed down
The pandemic has acted as an accelerator for technology modernization throughout many organizations, including within the legal department.
This was true for 43% of respondents, including a GC who said,
“COVID did not stop our law department from improving at all. In order to sell changes, I was able to reallocate funds from unnecessary services into technology so that I did not have to increase the budget.”
What technology is of highest priority for your organization?
- Contract Management
- Matter Management
- Compliance Software
- E-discovery software
- Spend Management
- None of these
*More than one response possible.
40% of those surveyed said that contract management is the top area of technology investment.
Many of those surveyed indicated that the effects of remote work illuminated the need to improve technology onboarding and better train their teams to get the full value from their existing tools.
“We didn't need additional tools, but we realized that the tools we had were not optimized, such as our document management system, which had limitations set in the original implementation, [which were] exacerbated when we began working from home…[it] forced us to optimize our toolkit.”
Explore the survey results and take a deeper dive into the data and major survey themes such as:
- Year-over-year trends shaping the role and responsibilities of the GC
- Emerging organizational risks resulting from remote work and evolving political landscape
- Critical areas of focus for building strong teams and technology-driven legal departments
- Advice for navigating 2022 and applying lessons learned from the report