Ten major trends and their effects on law departments (McKinsey)

The March 2006 McKinsey Quarterly Global Survey of Business Executives received 3,470 responses from a worldwide sample of business executives. The survey asked them to assess the consequences of 10 trends, the results of which appear in the McKinsey Quarterly, 2006 No. 3 at 20.

What struck me is that seven of trends speak directly to a need for law departments. The two trends deemed most puissant over the next five years concern growth in emerging markets and regions. Law departments will need more familiarity with international laws, statutes, and ways of doing business.

The third-ranking trend, “greater ease of obtaining information, developing knowledge,” underscores how crucial will be knowledge of intellectual property. The fourth trend, “increasingly global labor and talent markets,” promotes the need for human resources, employment and labor lawyers.

Environmental regulations and “shifting industry structures/emerging forms of corporate organization” (trends ranked 5th and 7th) will put a premium on environmental lawyers and corporate lawyers, respectively. I took a special shine to the eighth trend: “application of scientific techniques and approaches to business management.” Law department management has a long way to go to be buffeted by this perceived trend.

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