The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is having dramatic effects not only on businesses and governments, but also on billions of individuals worldwide. ACC sought to understand how legal departments are dealing with this extremely challenging situation by carrying out a flash poll of our membership.
The survey opened on March 25 and closed on March 29. We randomly selected 5,000 ACC members who were invited to participate online, and we received a total of 277 valid responses. Here are the flash poll results.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicate that their legal department was very well prepared to transition to working from home as a result of the social distancing requirements recommended or imposed by government agencies worldwide. A further 27 percent indicate that the legal department was somewhat prepared, and only around five percent admit being unprepared for the transition to teleworking.
Legal departments are playing a role in helping resolve supply chain challenges during this extraordinary situation. The results show that a majority of legal departments are assessing and advising business leaders on risks associated with new supplier relationships (64 percent) and are participating in contingency planning (63 percent). Under half of legal departments are either renegotiating (47 percent) or negotiating new contracts (41 percent); while around one third of respondents report in-house law departments conducting supply chain risk assessments (38 percent), and enforcing or litigating over contract breaches (32 percent). Only 15 percent of respondents are revising insurance policies at this time.
Finally, COVID-19 is also impacting legal departments on Labor and Employment issues, with 54 percent of respondents reporting an increased volume of work in this area, albeit it is not yet having an impact on the manner in which policies and procedures are handled. Thirty-one percent of respondents say that the current policies are holding up for now. On the other hand, one in ten admitted that the legal department is outourcing more L&E work to law firms since the start of the pandemic, and another five percent are currently using or exploring new external resources to handle the workload in this area.
Overall, in-house legal departments are holding up. A majority of respondents report that their teams are well prepared. The results also show that legal departments are busy contributing to the development of contingency plans, assessing and advising business leaders on risk issues, and handling the L&E-related effects of the pandemic.
ACC will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the in-house community with more data insights. Click the button below to access additional resources related to COVID-19.