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Whistling in the dark about legal risk management by UK heads of legal

It’s hard to see why general counsel are confident about legal risks if they don’t observe basic management practices. The benchmarking survey of legal risk and compliance, prepared in early 2009 and published by the Practical Law Company, gathers responses from 69 companies.

At page 9 the report starts by saying that “Three quarters of respondents say they are very or extremely confident in their company’s ability to manage legal risk.” We are in control, brother!

Oddly, though, less than half of the respondents “say they have a clear process in place to identify legal risks” and fewer than that (“around two fifths”) “say they have a clear process in place to prioritise legal risks.” We have a feeling sometimes for what’s going on and what to do.

The confidence of those surveyed regarding managing legal risks is belied by their lack of clear processes to identify and prioritize those risks. How can you feel good about your controls when often you don’t identify risks or pick which ones loom the most?