CLOs get their hands on business: in-house legal offices trends

Again in 2020, the challenges of compliance, privacy and cybersecurity remain among companies priorities. Particularly, chief legal officers (Clo) skills will be tested on these issues, both as legal and as business strategists.

This is part of the outcome of 2020 Acc Clo Survey, which has collected the experiences of over one thousand general counsels and chief legal officers in 47 countries.

It comes out that they’re increasingly involved in the definition of corporate strategies: 80.2% of respondents report directly to the CEO (15 percentage points higher than in 2018), 76% participate in the meetings of the boards of directors and 73% of these confirm that they are “almost always” asked advices in business decisions.

The function of legal operations continues to grow: 53.8% of in-house legal offices employ at least one legal operation professional, and 10% of respondents aim to expand this specific function the next year. As for the Clo strategies, the outsourcing of services remains an indispensable factor: the majority of these is expected to keep a stability trend or even to increase the use of external law firms.

The biggest concern? According to 60% of respondents, it is corporate data security. On the tech side, more than half of the Clos is using cutting-edge technologies, and 69% of professionals expects AI acceleration in the legal field very soon. In order to be ready for these developments and to meet security needs, the initiatives most widely undertaken by the legal departments during last year concerned the review of work processes (57.6% of the companies interviewed) and the increase of legal tech solutions (49.7%).