What are the law department priorities for 2013? That’s the question ALM Legal Intelligence asked of 126 in-house attorneys. And according to their report, “Corporate Counsel: Agenda 2013,” the top items inside counsel want to improve include becoming more of a strategic partner with company leaders, not just legal counsel (46 percent), and creating a culture of compliance within their companies (34 percent).
Topping the list of issues that respondents expect to be of most concern in 2013 are: doing more with less (39 percent), law department performance (37 percent), supporting company growth (37 percent), managing outside counsel costs (33 percent) and unforeseen crises (31 percent). The biggest risks are expected to include a steep downturn in the U.S. economy (28 percent) and a change in business conditions (25 percent); only 10 percent are concerned about the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
Yet, despite these concerns, fewer respondents say that they are brought in too late to be effective (29 percent this year versus 54 percent in 2011). “In another positive marker, the number of GCs who said they’re viewed as business ‘road blocks’ dropped—from 29 percent in 2011 to 18 percent in 2012,” reports Corporate Counsel.
Another surprise finding was that 67 percent of respondents listed partner responsiveness as the most important quality. This was a full 40 percentage points above the number who said “hourly rate charged” was the top quality. And a full 66 percent expect litigation to be the top matter to be outsourced this year, followed by intellectual property at 38 percent.
You can see select results of the report here.