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Survey of “business challenges” to law departments

Robert Half Legal commissioned a survey and reported its findings based on “150 lawyers from among the largest corporations in the United States and Canada.”

The survey asked the in-house lawyers, whose levels are not identified, “Of the following, which would you say is your legal department’s single greatest business challenge today?” The pie chart shows the results: “increased workloads” (34% chose this challenge), “compliance or regulation issues” (28% chose it), “controlling litigation or outside counsel costs” (24%), “budget restrictions” (7%), “employment issues such as hiring, retention or maintaining morale” (6%) and “other/don’t know” (1%).

Workload is a function of other pressures, such as pressing legal and regulatory demands or the need to manage lawsuits or an inability to find funds to hire more staff. Similarly, talent issues in-house tend to be a function of piled high inboxes and miniscule compensation increases. So what this small survey really says is that “there’s a lot of law out there pressing down on us and it costs a lot if we go to outside firms to help us.” Our business challenge – as compared, I guess, to our management challenges or our ethical challenges? – are tons of demands for knowledgeable, and often expensive, lawyers. Right.

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