Top priorities in 2005 for European in-house teams

The LexisNexis Martindale-Hubble 2005 “Study into the European market for legal services” at 15, lays out the rankings that 150 senior in-house counsel gave to a dozen important tasks and issues. Based on a scale from 0 (very low) to 10 (very high importance), here are the results:

1. “Working more closely with business units” (8.1)
2. “Corporate compliance and reputational risk” (8)
3. “Getting value for money from outside counsel” (7.3)
4. “Increasing laws and regulations” (7.2)
5. “Managing relations with outside counsel” (7.1)
6. “Mergers and acquisitions” (7)
7. “Staffing or contractual issues” (7)
8. “Training and developing staff” (6.2)
9. “Budgets and costs” (6.2)
10. “Resourcing issues” (5.6)
11. Using new technologies to drive efficiency” (5.5)
12. Property acquisition/development” (4.6)

Several of these choices pertain to substantive legal challenges, such as 4, 6, 7, and 12. As to two others, It is hard to divine the difference between getting value from outside counsel and managing relations with them (3 and 5). The tenth issue, resourcing, may have to do with limitations on headcount. I also wonder whether the “new” in new technologies (11) unwittingly guided the respondents to ignore improvements in existing technologies. Better to have simply included a choice for “improved use of technology.”

Prominent omissions from the list include intellectual property issues, litigation concerns, or anything having to do with diversity. And, all the concerns together address the goal to deliver value delivered, which could have been one of the choices.

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