What are the top non-legal skills for corporate lawyers?

By Jerome Doraisamy|26 February 2019

New research has pinpointed the non-legal skills that law department leaders want from their corporate legal teams, according to new research.

The ‘2019 Chief Legal Officers Survey’, conducted by the Association of Corporate Counsel, sought feedback from 1,639 CLOs across 55 countries. Among its findings was that 51 per cent of CLOs think that law department practitioners should develop their leadership skills, with 50 per cent thinking business management and 45 per cent saying communication and listening are also crucial skills for corporate lawyers.

Interestingly, the desire from law department leaders to have certain non-legal skills varied substantially depending on the industry in which those lawyers operate.

For example, 64 per cent of department leaders in accommodation and food services said communication was necessary for lawyers to develop, whereas only 39 per cent of such leaders in construction said the same. Elsewhere, 67 per cent of legal leaders in utilities companies said business management skills were important for lawyers to develop, while only 36 per cent in educational services companies said the same.

Looking at the findings collectively, project management was also seen by law department leaders as a fundamental non-legal skill for lawyers to develop (42 per cent), followed by executive presence (38 per cent), presentation skills (31 per cent), emotional intelligence (29 per cent) finance skills (28 per cent) and technical skills (21 per cent).

The ACC said that the growing areas of data analytics and visualisation, along with cross-cultural awareness, were new to this year’s non-legal skills list.

“This may be indicative of growing interest in skills related to big data needed for decision-making and expanding global awareness that is essential for those combining operations and possibly multicultural workforces as part of an international merger or acquisition,” it wrote in its report.

The research also found that regulation and security ranked as the two most important issues over the next 12 months, both in Australia and globally.

Regulatory or governmental changes are most concerning for Australian-based CLOs for the coming year, with 87 per cent of respondents listing it as very or extremely important, while 65.7 per cent of CLOs globally said the same.

Interested in the issues shaping the in-house legal landscape? Don’t miss your chance to hear from local and global in-house legal powerhouses at the 2019 Corporate Counsel Summit! Early-bird discounts close this Friday. 

What are the top non-legal skills for corporate lawyers?
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