Facts & Figures: General counsel rank data security as top concern

From social media stats to law school tuition increases, an inside look at the numbers that count

Social Sites

Social media: love it or hate it, but it’s tough to ignore it, even in the courtroom. According to a new report from the Conference of Court Public Information Officers, state judges nationwide are slowly but surely beginning to accept social media usage in both their personal and professional lives. Read on for more details:

46.1% Judges who use social media sites, up from 40.2 percent in 2010

45.4% Judges who disagreed or strongly disagreed that judges can use social media sites without compromising professional ethics, down from 47.6 percent in 2010

19% Judges who strongly agreed with the previous statement, up from 7.5 percent in 2010

7.5% Increase in number of judges running for office who use social media profile sites

Blogging Boost

It’s not just judges who are taking advantage of social media: InsideCounsel’s recent 2012 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey showed that lawyers of all ages are becoming increasingly comfortable with social media usage. Now another study from the American Bar Association is helping to bolster the image of the tech-savvy lawyer, reporting that more lawyers and firms are turning to blogging to generate business.

22% Respondents who said their firm has a blog, up from 15 percent in 2011

8% Lawyers in firms with 100-plus attorneys who keep their own legal blog

39% Lawyers who said they had gained a client as a result of blogging

Sad Survey

Quick, name the nine sitting Supreme Court justices. If you can, then you’re among a rarefied 1 percent of Americans, according to a new national survey by FindLaw.com. The study, which included responses from 1,000 people, reports that only one in three Americans can name even one of the court’s members. For more depressing statistics, see the following:

66% Americans who cannot name any Supreme Court justices

20% Respondents who identified Chief Justice John Roberts (the best-known justice)

3% Respondents who could name Stephen Breyer (the least-recognized justice)

16% Respondents who named Antonin Scalia and those who named Clarence Thomas

13% Respondents who named Ruth Bader Ginsburg and those who named Sonia Sotomayor

Increasing Inclusiveness

Last month, a National Law Journal survey reported that the number of female partners in law firms has grown over the past decade. Not to be outdone, in-house female lawyers are also climbing to the top spots of major companies, according to a recent study from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. The report indicates that more women than ever hold the general counsel spot at Fortune 500 companies. Here’s a more complete breakdown of the statistics:

21% Top legal spots in Fortune 500 companies that are held by women

108 Women serving as general counsel at Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies in 2011

23 Number of women general counsel who have joined the Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 since 2009

16% Top legal officers in 2011 who identified as minorities

Escalating Expenses

The number of law school applicants has fallen significantly in recent years, perhaps owing to horror stories of staggering student debt and a grim post-grad job market. But law schools apparently haven’t gotten the memo, according to a report from the National Law Journal. Average tuition and fees continued to rise at both private and public law schools this year, although at lower rates than in the past.

4% Increase in the average tuition and fees at private law schools from a year ago, to $40,585

6% Increase in the average in-state tuition for public law schools, to $23,590

19% Increase in tuition and fees at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, the largest percentage increase in the country

25% Decline in the number of law school applicants during the past two years

Concerned Counsel

Between shrinking legal budgets, increased government investigations and constant reports of data security breaches, general counsel have plenty to worry about these days, according to a new survey from FTI Consulting and Corporate Board Member.

The report, which includes responses from 1,957 general counsel and 11,340 corporate directors, shows that GCs’ top three concerns are data security, operational risk and management of outside legal fees. Despite the rash of bribery scandals plaguing companies such as Pfizer and Wal-Mart, only 30 percent of GCs rated FCPA compliance as a top concern. Read on for more responses:

55% General counsel who said data security was their top concern, up from 23 percent in 2008

33% General counsel who believe their boards are not adequately managing cyber risk (although 77 percent think their companies are prepared to detect cyber breaches)

47% General counsel who said that operational risk was their most pressing concern

59% GCs who believe their boards are effective at managing operational risk (33 percent were neutral)

68% Directors who are satisfied with their general counsels’ ability to handle FCPA compliance

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