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Ethics and compliance a top concern for CLOs, study says

Top legal officers are seeing their budgets increase as they face new regulatory challenges, according to a new survey from the Association of Corporate Counsel

Compliance, regulatory developments, and data and information security issues are among the top challenges facing chief legal officers, according to the Association of Corporate Counsel’s (ACC) recent Chief Legal Officers 2013 Survey.

Eighty-seven percent of the 1,104 respondents said they considered ethics and compliance an important issue, followed closely by regulatory or governmental changes (82 percent) and information privacy issues (75 percent). CLOs are also concerning themselves with the business side of their companies, as 78 percent said they spent most of their time advising C-suite executives and participating in strategic corporate issues.

“Fulfilling the dual role of business executive and legal advisor is the new normal for chief legal officers today,” ACC President & CEO Veta T. Richardson said in a statement. “From reducing outside legal costs to keeping apprised of legal developments that may impact business decisions in an increasingly aggressive regulatory environment … in-house counsel are squarely positioned in the hot seat.”

Perhaps owing to these challenges, the percentage of CLOs who reported being satisfied with their jobs dropped from 92 percent in 2011 to 81 percent last year.

Fortunately, though, law departments are getting some extra cash to help handle their mounting responsibilities, with 72 percent of CLOs saying that their budgets increased during the past year. Of that number, two-thirds said that their inside budgets increased, and 59 percent spent more money on outside counsel.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

For more important law-related numbers on InsideCounsel, see:

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GCs report shifting roles in era of regulatory and security concerns

Facts & Figures: GCs are becoming more involved in business strategy

Alanna Byrne

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