Each year the In-House Community surveys its members, and through this and the discussions at our annual Congress and Symposium forums, takes the pulse of what really matters to in-house counsel and buyers of legal services across the Asia and Middle East regions.
2017 In-House Community White Paper – Introduction
Talent and career management is the most important issue facing in-house legal teams as they strive to meet the challenges of an increasing compliance burden while being asked to do more with less.
This finding forms part of the insights gleaned from 14 In-House Congress events held between March 2016 and April 2017, and published in The In-House Community White Paper 2017: The Six Biggest Challenges Facing In-House Counsel Teams — and the Relationship Between In-House Counsel and External Counsel.
The In-House Community polled delegates attending its events, asking for their views on a range of issues, including the biggest challenges they face in their jobs and the relationship between external and internal lawyers.
Overwhelmingly, respondents said that structuring and motivating their teams was their biggest challenge, followed by managing cost and evaluating value-add.
Such issues are an inevitable consequence of the growing workload that in-house teams are facing. Expansion into new markets and segments, more complex regulation and stricter enforcement, and the growth of new technologies are all creating challenges for legal teams, as reflected in the survey. Despite this increasing pressure, only a quarter of teams are adding headcount to cope.
At the same time, external legal spend is also coming under greater scrutiny, leading respondents to cite certainty of costs as one of their top priorities from outside law firms. While in-house teams certainly continue to rely on external lawyers, close to half said they were using them less and more than two-thirds are looking at alternative legal providers as a way to stretch their limited budgets further.
However, cost is not everything. It should come as no surprise that more than 90% of respondents say that industry knowledge and responsiveness are their top priorities — lawyers who pick up the phone and know what they’re talking about are still valued.
The report represents the most comprehensive survey of the in-house community in Asia and the Middle East yet undertaken in this field, with a full breakdown of responses across each jurisdiction where the In-House Congress events were held, including an analysis of the proportion of men and women attending each event, which provides a revealing insight into how the gender gap varies across the region.
The 14 jurisdictions were Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai (and the Middle East), Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Singapore.
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