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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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COVID-19 Member Flash Poll — Education & Training Results

As legal departments worldwide continue to adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19, ACC launched a second flash poll to learn more about how this new reality is affecting our members.

Building on our first quick survey on the legal department's response in the wake of the pandemic, this time ACC inquired about the impact of COVID-19 on the in-house community's education and training needs.

We randomly selected a total of 5,000 ACC members who were invited to participate online, and we received a total of 405 responses. The survey was in the field from May 5 until May 11. Here are the results.

Almost 70 percent of participants had to cancel or postpone their attendance to an in-person educational event due to the existing travel restrictions and social distancing measures in countries all over the world.

The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy is fueling uncertainty in many areas. In-house counsel weighed in on their expectations for changes in the education and training budget for the next year. Almost half (46 percent) of survey participants believe their departments' budgets will decrease, 30 percent do not expect it to change, and only 3 percent indicated that it will increase. Twenty-one percent of respondents are unsure about the evolution of training budgets at this time.

We asked ACC members under what conditions they would feel comfortable attending future educational and training events in person. As countries across the world are taking steps into re-opening their economies, a majority of participants are also looking forward to going back to normal and attend in-person events, although under certain conditions.

Seventeen percent of participants would be comfortable attending in-person training events as soon as stay-at-home orders are lifted; while a further 45 percent would consider attending such events if additional health and social distancing measures are observed. This represents a combined 62 percent of surveyed in-house counsel.

Other participants are looking into the future with more caution. Almost 28 percent reported that they will only attend in-person educational events once a vaccine is widely available, and an additional 3 percent admitted that they will only consider online training moving forward.

With lockdowns in place and remote work being the new norm for legal departments, virtual interactions have undoubtedly gained prominence and so have online education and training programs. We finally asked participants about how they typically engage in virtual educational events.

Thirty-six percent reported that they normally participate in live events, while 10 percent indicated a preference for listening to recorded programs at their own convenience. A further thirty-one percent attend events in both formats and another 22 percent said that it depends on the topic. Therefore, with such balanced responses, in-house counsel seem to value the diversity of online training formats available.

COVID-19 has impacted legal education and training, as it has in many other areas of both businesses and communities alike. Even though online education is the norm right now, in-house counsel are keen to reconnect, and a majority is open to attending in-person events in the near future.

ACC will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the in-house community and the legal department. Find more related resources on the ACC COVID-19 Resource Center.

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