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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

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In-house lawyers tired, working longer, but still optimistic

WASHINGTON (June 11, 2020) — The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) published the results of its third member flash poll related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This poll focused on the state of the in-house community’s wellness and work habits in the three months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.  

The survey showed in-house lawyers working overwhelmingly from home, and those who are report that they are working more hours. While over thirty percent said they would rate their current level of burnout as “very high” or “high,” a large majority reported feeling positive about the work at their company.

“As businesses around the world struggled to adjust to the new challenges of COVID-19, corporate legal departments were at the forefront of those transitions,” said Tori Payne, vice president and chief membership officer at ACC. “Members repeatedly shared with us how the stress of these responsibilities were impacting their wellbeing and overall mental health. The results from this flash poll provide some insights that COVID-19 is taking an emotional toll on the in-house community, but that they are also an incredibly optimistic and resilient group of professionals.

The poll found that 88.3 percent of in-house lawyers are currently working from home, while just under 10 percent have seen pay cuts, furloughs, or dismissal due to budget cuts. Of those working remotely, 53.4 percent are working longer hours than before. Between 40 and 50 percent of respondents reported feeling tired or low energy, experiencing anxiety, and trouble sleeping or concentrating as a result of the pandemic; 30.3 percent rated their level of burnout as “high” or “very high.” In addition, 39.5 percent expressed alarm or concern about racial disparity during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, 83.3 percent of respondents rated their overall emotional state as “somewhat good,” “very good,” or “extremely good.” A similar number, 84.2 percent, expressed positive feelings for their work and company. Over half have attended a virtual cocktail party, and others reported attending online fitness classes, religious services, dinner parties, and meditation sessions as ways to relax and connect with others.

This poll opened on June 3 and closed on June 8. Four hundred sixty ACC members provided answers. This is the third in a series of informal polls designed to elicit feedback from in-house counsel on a variety of topics related to the impact of COVID-19. The full results are available on the ACC website.

About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other organizations through information, education, networking, and advocacy. With more than 45,000 members in 85 countries employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit and follow ACC on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.