How trusting are in-house lawyers?
New research reveals the extent to which law departments trust their organisations, department leaders trust their teams, and – correspondingly – whether businesses are more trustful in turn.
Global alternative legal service provider LOD has released its Trust: An Antidote to Uncertainty report, in which it surveyed 183 senior legal counsel worldwide about the depth and sustainability of changes observed and experienced 18 months into the global COVID-19 pandemic, together with the state of affairs in legal teams across sectors.
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During the past year, LOD found, there have been “slight but potent” changes that have given rise to elevated levels of trust between businesses and organisations and their in-house lawyers.
When asked what new working practices, undertaken in response to the onset of coronavirus, have been retained into 2021, almost all respondents (96 per cent) identified remote working arrangements. The uptake and mainstreaming of remote and flexible working, LOD surmised, demonstrates that in-house leaders are placing more trust in their teams.
Moreover, more than one-third (35 per cent) have seen an increase in self-service of legal work within their organisations, meaning that law departments are more trusting of their own organisations.
Strengthening the resolve of legal teams to up the volume of self-service within an organisation is the fact that 30 per cent of respondents said they have retained an increased reliance on legal technology. Such enabling of self-serviced legal work, LOD deduced, “could signal a more meaningful transformation in the longer term”.
Elsewhere, 15 per cent of respondents said their law departments had sustained the practice of using interim legal staff, and 13 per cent said they were still using data to influence decision-making.
The elevated levels of trust that in-house lawyers are placing in their teams and the broader organisations may be contributing to the quantum of trust being placed in them, in turn.
When asked if they felt more or less of a trusted adviser within one’s business or organisation since the onset of the pandemic, over one-third (36 per cent) of respondents said that they feel more trusted.
Just 2 per cent said they felt less trusted, while 62 per cent said they felt that the level of trust placed in them had remained the same.
Alistair Maiden, who is the founder and the CEO of Skye – which LOD recently formed a strategic partnership with to provide in-house teams with solutions to all their flexible resourcing, operational, and technology needs – said that the rise in trust levels is “welcome news” for law departments and the organisations they serve.
“Legal teams who implement self-serve tools and tech systems will be well equipped to ride the wave of this newfound faith and deliver the greatest long-term value as a result,” he said.
LOD CEO Tom Hartley (pictured) supported this, saying: “Lawyers, contract managers and paralegals have shown how as individuals and teams they can thrive in a distributed model.
“The in-house team now has more options to work differently and this multi-layered increase in trust is enabling progressive in-house teams to boost their productivity and add more value to their organisation,” he proclaimed.
“As a result, in-house team performance is increasingly being measured by the volume of business-critical projects completed, such as complex commercial contracts signed favourably for the organisation.
“LOD has long been a standard-bearer for this type of change – it looks like it has finally taken hold.”