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Corporate Law Departments

2024 State of the Corporate Law Department: Corporate GCs looking to advance department, evolve into value centers and strategic leaders

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

In the ║┌┴¤┤ˇ╩¬Posts InstituteÔÇÖs newly published ÔÇť2024 State of the Corporate Law DepartmentÔÇŁ report, we see how corporate GCs are looking to improve performance in several key areas

The responsibilities of todayÔÇÖs corporate law departments fall relatively well into four key areas of focus: effectively advising the business; efficiently performing their functions; enabling the growth of the business; and protecting the business from risk.

While an admittedly simplified framework for the complex reality that is todayÔÇÖs corporate law department, this provides an understandable roadmap of the diverse challenges faced by corporate chief legal officers and general counsel.

corporate law department

In-house law departments are constantly striving to make improvements in each of these areas, Yet, even as department leaders look to evolve their roles in these areas, they are also seeking to take on a broader challenge to better redefine their department ÔÇö away from being perceived as cost centers and towards being seen as strategic leaders within the broader enterprise.

To do this, they must balance their key areas of focus and shift how they tell the story of their departmentÔÇÖs contribution to the business. All of this must also be done in alignment with expectations from the C-Suite ÔÇö in some cases, that means changing how the department operates in order to be in closer alignment with company leadershipÔÇÖs expectations; in other cases, it means influencing company leadership to see the law department in a different light.

To examine this complex reality, the ║┌┴¤┤ˇ╩¬Posts Institute has released its , which more fully explores each of these key focus areas for corporate law departments. The report also provides current benchmarks for department performance as well as insights into C-Suite expectations around areas on which company management says they would like to see their law departments focus. Further, the report offers examples of best practices derived from in-depth, long-term research into law department functions and operations, providing challenging questions to help guide the evolution of todayÔÇÖs corporate legal function.

Among the key findings of the report:

        • Efficiency, technology, strategic enablement, and risk management are all areas of increasing importance within todayÔÇÖs law department
        • A large number of corporate general counsel believe that generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) will have a transformational impact on the practice of law
        • There is a plethora of areas in which AI can improve the operations of law departments through improved processes and data analytics capabilities
        • Upskilling of staff will play an important role in the law departmentÔÇÖs future, impacting everything from preparing for new technology to understanding the potential risk horizon
        • Law departments are looking to increase efficiency by improving how they perform work in-house and which outside counsel they choose to engage for which types of legal work
        • Law departments largely expect that their spend on outside counsel will increase in the coming year, although certain practices and geographies are less inclined to forecast increases
        • Data privacy, cybersecurity, and environmental, social & governance (ESG) concerns top the list of potential future risks
        • Law department leaders may have a real opportunity to redefine how executive leadership perceives the law department in terms of its ability to enable the growth of the broader enterprise

Relying on a collection of ║┌┴¤┤ˇ╩¬Posts proprietary data, the 2024 State of the Corporate Law Department report provides a data-driven analysis of the reality of todayÔÇÖs corporate legal function, key benchmarks for comparison of department performance, and visions of what the future ÔÇö both in the near- and long-term ÔÇö may hold for corporate legal officers.

You can download a copy of the here.

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