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Beyond the Law - General Counsel Survey 2012

The aim of the survey is to find out how much progress the General Counsel (GCs) are making as business decision-makers, and the challenges they face in this growing role.

Beyond the Law - General Counsel Survey 2012
Our research uncovered an increasingly challenging business environment, where General Councels (GCs) are being called upon to play a greater role in the running of companies, particularly in managing of risks. Another headline finding we discovered was a gap between the beneficial impact GCs believe they can have, and their actual involvement in strategic decision-making, which needs to be addressed.

Business models are changing and becoming more complex and more global. At the same time the more intrusive and prescriptive legal and regulatory environment which has grown from the global economic crisis is driving how businesses operate and the decisions they make. It seems inescapable therefore that a company’s GC, its chief legal adviser, should have a major role in these decisions, helping the Board to shape strategy and achieve its corporate objectives.

This role has been described as being the ‘barometer’ for the organisation. We think this is a good analogy. Many corporate problems are likely to touch the GC’s desk, enough perhaps for the GC to have a strong sense of the current ‘weather’ conditions facing the business. But this daily feedback coupled with the GC’s broader knowledge and experience, also enables the GC to look ahead and anticipate the risks and problems that the organisation is likely to face in the future. GC can be very effective horizon scanners.

In this role the GC complements other senior offi cers who carry responsibility for risk, but the GC’s experience of dealing with regulators, actual and potential disputes and other legal challenges provides a strong evidential basis for the GC’s contribution. Boards that seek to maximise their organisations’ return on investments are now looking to maximise their return on their legal function by leveraging the GC.

Nevertheless many companies still see their GC as a technical specialist, to be consulted when there is a specifi c legal aspect to consider, whose input rarely extends to wider corporate strategy or operations. This view seems to be shifting however, as companies increasingly expect their GC to move into this barometer role. Business leaders increasingly look for GC who have commercial know-how who can communicate and collaborate with colleagues throughout the organisation to fi nd solutions to address and manage their risk landscape. With this context in mind, we were intrigued and excited to commission KPMG’s fi rst Global General Counsel Survey.

We wanted to discover how GC in major businesses are developing into business decision-makers, to gauge the progress they have made so far, and to identify their greatest challenges. We were also keen to explore what support GC need from their organisations to allow them to make the transition from pure legal adviser to strategic adviser and barometer of the organisation. This transition requires a shift in mindset and behaviour from GC as well as the wider organisation, if the value that GC can bring to the top table is to be maximised.

Read the full survey below (PDF 58 pages in english)

20121207105626496.pdf 20121207105626496.pdf  (329.37 Ko)

Jeudi 13 Décembre 2012

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