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Three reviews of business challenges for corporate counsel

Previous posts discuss three surveys that asked substantially the same question: What are the big challenges law departments face (See my posts of July 4, 2006 from Australia; May 10, 2006 from Canada; and Aug. 26, 2006 by Robert Half.)? Here are the findings, numbered consecutively to make some comments easier.

The four most pressing business issues that face Australian law departments are (1) “reducing outside legal costs,” (2) “staying appraised of company activities,” (3) “too much work, too little resources/legal budget issues,” and (4) “demonstration of value.” In the US, the “business challenges” to law departments are (5) “increased workloads,” (6) “compliance or regulation issues,” (7) “controlling litigation or outside counsel costs,” and (8) “budget restrictions.” As for the Canadian counterparts, the “most important functions” corporate counsel perform for the management team started with (9) “candidly weigh and assess risks of various courses of action,” (10) “minimize risk,” (11) “provide good alignment with business units,” and (12) “manage outside legal counsel and related costs.”

Three themes have multiple votes. Watch the money is one of them, with (1), (7), (8) and (11) expressing variations on it. The theme of over-burden of work shows up twice, in (3) and (5); the same for risk management in (10) and (12). There is some consensus among these three surveys, but not complete.

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