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General Counsel Report from FTI Consulting and Relativity Reveals Declining Risk Preparedness Across Global Corporate Legal Departments
The report, which is based on a detailed survey and one-on-one interviews between
“Across discussions with corporate legal department leaders, there was a resounding sentiment that the past two years have been the most difficult on record, yet nearly all general counsel are bracing for additional challenges on the horizon,” said
In a series of four installments, the report will cover escalating digital risk and regulatory compliance challenges, key privacy and environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) challenges, legal department technology adoption and legal operations trends.
Key findings covered in Part One include:
- Regulatory issues dominated all other risk areas, with 30% of respondents noting this is their top risk for the coming year, compared to 23% who selected this category in the previous year report.
- While regulatory compliance rated number one among 30% of respondents, nearly all (92%) ranked it among their top five exposures. Data privacy and data protection followed, ranked in the top five by 80%, and other leading issues included implications of advanced technology (55%), ESG (53%), increased number of disputes and investigations (50%) and rising legal spend (43%).
- Forty percent of all respondents said their company is following activity around renewed
U.S.regulatory enforcement under “dormant” laws (e.g., Clayton Act, Robinson-Patman Act).
- Artificial intelligence was mentioned in the context of risk management by 20% of participants, whereas it wasn’t mentioned at all in previous years. One general counsel in
Australiasaid, “I am concerned because we are not clear on its outputs and we have created a generative AI policy to create guardrails. We cannot prohibit its use because people love it, but I want to make sure there are guidelines that will not run afoul of regulations or our compliance obligations.”
- Challenges surrounding emerging data from cloud tools, collaboration platforms and chat applications jumped substantially, with 62% of participants stating they had experienced new challenges across disputes, investigations, data protection, governance and compliance, up nearly 20% from the prior year.
- The number of general counsel with some level of concern relating to emerging data sources rose to 93% from 57% in the prior year.
“Managing risk is the raison d’etre for any general counsel, and the data from The General Counsel Report are valuable for gaining insight on where chief legal officers see the leading risks facing corporations today,” said
Part One of The General Counsel Report 2024 is available for download here. Subsequent parts of the report will be released in early 2024.
Demographics and Methodology
In July and
Relativity makes software to help users organize data, discover the truth and act on it. Its SaaS product, RelativityOne, manages large volumes of data and quickly identifies key issues during litigation and internal investigations. Relativity has more than 300,000 users in approximately 40 countries serving thousands of organizations globally primarily in legal, financial services and government sectors, including the
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Source: FTI Consulting, Inc.