ACC, in partnership with Exterro, the exclusive ACC Alliance Partner for eDiscovery, data privacy, and cybersecurity, present the results of the 2021 Chief Legal Officers Survey. This study of chief legal officers and general counsel builds on responses from 947 participants in organizations spanning 21 industries and 44 countries. The report contains four main sections:
The Chief Legal Officer's Role and Reach
The Legal Department's Value to the Business
The Political and Regulatory Landscape
The Outlook for the Legal Department
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Sponsored by Exterro
Please join our distinguished panel of chief legal officers as they discuss the findings of the ACC 2021 Chief Legal Officers Survey. The highlights include the global impact of the CLO as a key business partner, hiring expectations for 2021, the growth of the legal operations role, legal challenges related to data privacy, and the legal department's role in ESG, and diversity and inclusion. Join us to gain critical insights on leading the modern corporate legal department.
- Daniel Sholler, Product Marketing Manager, Exterro
- Jo Anne Schwendinger, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer & Secretary, II-IV Incorporated
- Justin Connor, Director of Chief Legal Officer & Stakeholder Engagement, Association of Corporate Counsel
- Juliette Pryor, EVP & General Counsel, Albertson's Companies, Inc.
- John Page, SVP, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility & Legal Officer, Golden State Foods Corp.
The 2021 Chief Legal Officers Survey represents the views of 947 chief legal officers and general counsel across a wide range of countries, industry sectors, and organizations.
Participating legal departments also varied substantially in terms of the number of legal staff and annual company revenue.
1. The clo is a key business partner
The CLO continues to play a significant role in overall business strategy and decision-making, and regularly participates in board meetings, provides input on business decisions, and is sought out by other business leaders to discuss operational and risk areas.
2. many departments expect to add lawyers in 2021 despite pandemic
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic nearly one third of departments plan on adding lawyers to their in-house teams in 2021. Twenty percent of departments plan on adding paralegals and 12.7 percent expect to hire additional legal operations professionals.
3. legal operations is now a strategic initiative
Sixty-one percent of legal departments now have at least one legal operations professional on staff, by far the highest percentage we have observed since tracking this metric. This is a 6.7 percentage point increase over the last year and a near 40-point increase since 2015.
4. data privacy concerns continue to impact organizations
Over half (53.6 percent) of CLOs believe that data privacy protection rules will pose one of the biggest challenges to their organization. In addition, nearly 80 percent say they are at least somewhat concerned about changing data privacy laws in the jurisdictions where they do business and 18 percent are very concerned.
5. esg and d&i issues take center stage
As attention to ESG issues continues to increase, CLOs say many aspects of their corporate strategy are being impacted including that of product development on the environment, third-party relationships and supply chain standards, and investor and stakeholder expectations.
Survey instrument: The survey questionnaire was offered through an online survey platform.
Fielding period: The survey opened on October 1, 2020, and closed on November 29, 2020. Reminder emails were sent weekly.
Target population: ACC members worldwide who are the highest-ranked legal officers in their respective legal departments. A screener question was asked to help determine the most relevant population.
Participation: A total of 947 GC and CLOs participated. Apart from targeted email messages, opportunities to participate were also sent through LinkedIn campaigns.