Many U.S. general counsel are increasingly incorporating strategic decision-making and legal technology in their roles. According to a new survey, their European counterparts face a similar experience.
The General Counsel Barometer 2017, a survey from legal services company Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions, shows general counsel at companies based in Europe are looking to align with business strategy and to increase legal department technological capabilities.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents, from companies headquartered in European countries, said their roles have become more strategic over the last three years, and 54 percent said they believed their work would move in that direction over the next three years.
There appears to be a gap between larger and smaller companies in these areas. The view toward a more strategic role for GCs in the future varied based on company size.
At companies in the survey with annual revenue of less than $5 billion, only 5 percent of respondents thought they would become more strategically focused in the coming years. In those with revenue of between $5 billion and $25 billion per year, 60 percent of the respondents said strategy would increasingly be a focus. For companies with revenue of more than $25 billion per year, 90 percent of the respondents noted strategic focus as taking up a bigger part of their job.
"This survey supports the notion that legal departments outside those in the largest organizations often find themselves tied into functional roles because they lack the resources to become more strategic," said Mark Stapleton, EMEA managing director for Wolters Kluwer's ELM Solutions, in a statement.
The report also examined the use of technology in European legal departments, which used tech tools most often in contract management and risk and regulation.