A survey of in-house counsel has revealed that directors' duties and legal professional privilege for in-house lawyers are their biggest issues.
The survey was conducted by Sydney-based Allens Arthur Robinson partner Paul Nicols. Around 600 senior and junior in-house lawyers from corporate clients of the firm completed the survey over the course of 2010.
Existing clients of Allens were asked to rank the top six issues in order of importance from a list of about one dozen issues, before attending one of the various Allens Corporate Counsel Seminar Series held in different offices throughout the year.
"We saw a shift in emphasis in 2010 from GFC-related 'batten down the hatches' topics, where corporations were interested in balance sheet repair and restructuring issues such as insolvency and employee termination," Nicols said. "That has shifted to M&A-type issues, and dealing with higher levels of growth and on implementing projects that might have been on the backburner over the last few years, such as investment in IT projects."
At the top of the list of nominated topics were directors' duties issues for general counsel & company secretaries, closely followed by legal professional privilege for in-house lawyers.
Topics related to personal property securities reform, M&A, the new Australian Consumer Law and legal issues around IT also made it into the top six.
"There was also a high degree of interest in topics related to collusion and price signaling reform," Nicols said. "I think interest in that topic will increase as reform in that area extends past the financial services sector."