Are in-house teams feeling valued?
New research details the extent to which in-house leaders and professionals feel valued by their organisations and how data is being used to boost that perceived value.
LOD and SYKE – which were acquired by Consilio in August – have produced the fourth annual Global Survey Report, exploring the state of in-house legal teams around the world in this calendar year. The report was based on a global survey of 332 legal, risk and compliance professionals.
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As reported last week by Lawyers Weekly, operational pitfalls and economic headwinds mean that nearly half of in-house legal teams are less able to plan ahead – which may be contributing to depleted staff morale.
The report also found that – compared to their feelings in 2022 – law department leaders are sensing that their teams are increasingly perceived as valuable, although not as strongly.
More than one in three (37 per cent) of in-house leaders feel they are highly valued by their organisations, down 18 per cent from last year, and 45 per cent feel valued (up 25 per cent from 2022). Just 3 per cent of in-house leaders said they do not feel valued, while 15 per cent were neutral.
Among in-house professionals, “there was a hollowing out of those feeling valued”, the report outlined, with respondents noting a push either “into stronger convictions of value or a neutral position”.
Nearly half (44 per cent) said that in-house professionals are highly valued (up 13 per cent), while feeling valued dropped 16 per cent to 37 per cent. More people were neutral on this question in 2023 (17 per cent, up 6 per cent in 2022), and just 2 per cent said in-house professionals are not valued.
As was the case last year, the report added, in-house leaders who feel that their teams are highly valued are also more likely to agree that they were using data to boost value, and were also far more likely to have a technology strategy.
Two in three (66 per cent) of respondents either agreed (38 per cent) or strongly agreed (28 per cent) that they use data to boost the value of the law department. Only 17 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed with this.
The volume of in-house leaders who are using data to boost value, the report mused, is a “positive and material shift for legal departments around the world”.
Moreover, two in five (42 per cent) of teams have a technology strategy, with 31 per cent having an informal one and 11 per cent having a formal, written document.
One in five (21 per cent) said that their team’s technology strategy is in development, and 37 per cent said they do not have a strategy.
These latter findings, the report said, show that the number of those lacking a tech strategy is “rapidly trending downwards” as in-house leaders realise the productivity dividends enabled by various legal technologies.
“This positive development shows that in-house legal teams are finding the time to develop and set strategy – outside of just firefighting,” LOD and SYKE wrote.
Elsewhere, the report found (as detailed last week) that, as a result of current economic conditions, a lack of ability to plan for the future (i.e., “constantly firefighting”) was the most-cited impact that survey respondents pointed to in the face of a market that is seeing high inflation, higher cost of living, and a tightening of corporate spend, with nearly one in two (44 per cent) pointing to firefighting as an impact.
This was followed by more legal work as outside spending has been limited or cut, as well as having no budget for investment (both 32 per cent), and team engagement and motivation becoming increasingly challenging (31 per cent).
The report noted: “Economic uncertainty has brought more work across the in-trays of legal departments around the world, so they are feeling the pressure to take on more tasks internally. This helps explain the firefighting sentiment.
“The increasing pressure is also impacting team engagement and motivation – it’s hard to have a happy team when you’re always in crisis mode.”