General counsel at European-based companies are looking to align with business strategy and increase legal department technological capabilities - but there is a significant innovation gap between small and larger companies.

Companies with revenues under $5 billion could well lose out in the years to come in an increasingly competitive marketplace as they are lagging far behind their larger counterparts in terms of becoming more strategic and utilising technology. The General Counsel Barometer 2017 revealed that 38 percent of respondents, from companies headquartered in European countries, said their roles have become more strategic over the last three years. A total of 54 percent said they believed their work would move in that direction over the next three years.

Gap between large and small

There is a wide gap between larger and smaller companies in these areas. The view towards a more strategic role for GCs in the future varied based on company size - only five percent thought they would become more strategically focused in the coming years in companies with annual revenue under $5 billion. However, companies with revenue of between $5 billion and $25 billion per year -  60 percent of the respondents - said strategy would increasingly be a focus. Those with revenues of more than $25 billion per year- 90 percent of the respondents - noted strategic focus as taking up a bigger part of their job.