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For GCs, Endurance is Now the Name of the Game: Report

A new white paper from FTI Consulting shows general counsels are generally leery heading into 2022 as a majority have reported numerous concerns about risk management and mitigation.

The new paper, which was released in conjunction with software firm Relativity, shows that fully 60% of general counsels surveyed indicate concern over “mounting risks.” The paper represents the first leg of a three-part series entitled 'The 2022 General Counsel Report: Leading with Endurance Through Risk, Culture and Technology Challenges,' which is aimed at addressing issues likely to thwart general counsels in the near future.

“Previous General Counsel studies revealed that the trials from the past two years were critical in preparing legal teams with the endurance needed to face a myriad of emerging expectations and challenges,” according to the authors. “In this year’s GC Report, we explore three critical areas that will soon dominate time and resources: risk, culture and technology.”

Among the long list of challenges facing legal departments that are addressed in the paper are:

  • The wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The “tremendous” technological, societal and governmental changes 

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According to the paper, one general counsel pointed to employee retention, engagement and responsiveness as issues that have become prohibitive and pervasive. Similarly, cybersecurity, data privacy and data protection are also on the minds of many legal pros. And newly appearing in this year’s assessment of areas of expanding risk are “technology modernization” and “compliance and regulation.”

Legal software provider Clio, citing a 2019 study from the American Bar Association, indicates more than one-quarter of law firms have experienced a data breach in one form or another due to sensitive data they often have on hand.

“There are a lot of unknowns. The sources of data are so disparate, and it is hard to track what comes into a company’s system. It is more confusing than email. Some of those systems are not fully aligned with a company’s system,” said one respondent. “For example, where do comments from a company’s Facebook page live. Often, this is an afterthought.”

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General counsels are going to need to prepare for a long, bumpy ride before the difficult environment eases up, though, argues the white paper.

“For the GC, endurance is now the name of the game in leadership,” reads the report. “Endurance is described as the ability to exert energy and remain active over a long, sustained period of difficulty or unpleasantness while at the same time resisting, withstanding and easily rebounding from trauma or fatigue. It’s a quality that isn’t developed overnight, but rather requires prolonged training, discipline, practice, strength, steadiness and patience.”

According to FTI Consulting and Relativity, part two of the white paper report, “Culture Development and Team Management,” is expected to be released in January.

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