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Burnout, breadth of work top list of in-house team challenges

New research from LawVu details the headline challenges and barriers facing law departments at present.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 14 March 2023 Corporate Counsel
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Matter and contract management software provider LawVu has released its 2023 In-house Legal Technology Report, which surveyed almost 300 in-house professionals across the United Kingdom and the United States between December 2022 and February 2023.

The purpose of the report was to better appreciate the various trends surrounding the use of tech by law departments and the impact on workflow efficiencies and business objectives as a result of said use, as the market emerges from a global pandemic and potentially enters a recession.

While Australian in-house legal professionals were not surveyed for the report, it contains pertinent findings for law departments here.


It found that the top challenges generally facing in-house teams, whose headcounts range from those with less than 10 professions to those with more than 75, were: workload and burnout, regulatory and political pressures, and risk management.

“Interestingly, legal teams with 31-75 employees suffer the highest number of challenges compared with both smaller and larger teams,” LawVu wrote.

The report listed the major challenges/barriers facing legal teams, with the following being the most commonly selected by respondents:

  • Breadth, complexity and volume of work (22 per cent experiencing this);
  • Workload is too high (22 per cent);
  • Regulatory and political pressures (22 per cent);
  • Risk management (21 per cent);
  • Exhaustion and burnout (21 per cent);
  • Under-resourced legal team (20 per cent);
  • Inefficient workflows (20 per cent);
  • Increasing concerns about a recession (19 per cent);
  • Introduction of new legal technology (18 per cent);
  • Lack of legal technology (18 per cent); and
  • Legal technology not living up to expectations (18 per cent).
In the face of such findings, LawVu wrote in its report that “the workloads and burnout facing in-house legal professionals in the post-pandemic and economic environment demand attention from the business, particularly as legal inefficiencies impact business outcomes”.

“In-house legal is no stranger to challenge, but with the current economic climate and post-pandemic pressures, issues such as exhaustion are heightened concerns for teams,” it said.

The findings around burnout and workload also correlate with the musings of Who Gives a Crap legal beagle Kate Sherburn, who — recently on The Corporate Counsel Show — reflected on how many in-house lawyers limped to the finish line at the end of 2022 and how a realignment of workflow and priorities in line with business needs is necessary for the year ahead.