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Survey provides fresh evidence that General Counsel are expanding beyond their traditional role to embrace new leadership responsibilitiesDecember 7, 2017

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New study from TerraLex and McNair shows regulatory concerns are now joined by a focus on cybersecurity, data privacy and other corporate priorities

The role of the corporate general counsel continues to evolve to include new, important areas of focus and responsibilities. While maintaining a firm handle on the traditional functions of the legal department, a just-released survey of general counsel reveals that their role is increasingly concerned with regulation and compliance, as well as data privacy and related cybersecurity issues.

The new findings are contained in “The General Counsel Excellence Report 2017,” a survey sponsored by TerraLex, a referral network of more than 150 law firms, including McNair which is the the only South Carolina member law firm of TerraLex. The complete survey, which was undertaken by The Global Legal Post, can be accessed here. Similar surveys were undertaken in 2013 and 2015.

“The General Counsel Excellence Report and our experience demonstrate that no one type of solution works for every legal department. Certainly technology is playing a role both in managing work and managing outside counsel,” said Harry Trueheart, Chairman and CEO of TerraLex, and Chairman Emeritus of Nixon Peabody LLP. “Time and again, our member firms have demonstrated that they are adaptable to the approaches preferred by their clients. We have project management approaches to align our member teams with client preferences and the project management professionals in our member firms regularly collaborate to provide efficient solutions.”

In an effort to address the costs of their legal departments, a majority of the general counsel surveyed (59%) are now regularly asking their outside law firms for alternatives to the hourly billing model. However, while 53% of respondents feel that firms are offering better deals on fees, 59% feel that law firms should do more to help with outsourcing options.

Finding the right foreign law firm is also a subject of the survey. Not surprisingly, the most trusted source for researching a law firm was a direct referral, with the use of a law firm network coming in second.

About TerraLex
TerraLex is one of the world’s leading international legal networks. With more than 155 top independent law firms and more than 17,000 attorneys in 100 countries, TerraLex members provide the legal resources and expertise needed to conduct seamless business worldwide.