COVID-19 benefited communication and well-being initiatives for over 60% of in-house counsel, study

The study conducted by LOD also reported that there was improved prioritisation of work

COVID-19 benefited communication and well-being initiatives for over 60% of in-house counsel, study

The COVID-19 pandemic has benefited communication and well-being initiatives in companies for over 60% of in-house counsel worldwide, a study conducted by LOD has found.

Findings from the study show that while the pandemic has had a negative impact, it has also had its pros for in-house legal teams. Of the 383 in-house legal and compliance professionals surveyed, 65% anticipated that initiatives driven by the crisis, including “more regular communication with key colleagues” and “stronger focus on the wellbeing of team members,” would be made permanent, LOD said.

Moreover, 65% of respondents indicated that they appreciated the value of communication and team management more.

“We began daily meetings with the legal team as a way to ensure both cohesion for a newly distributed team and to align on team objectives and workflows,” said one respondent, a legal manager in Australia. “This has continued, even as we have partly returned to the office, and is likely to remain in the longer term.”

Another initiative expected to stick around by 60% of respondents is the improvement in work prioritisation. Interviews with team leaders indicated that the greater prioritisation has facilitated focus on strategic movements like the adoption of technology.

“We’ve been able to use the current environment as a driver for change and to accelerate our automation workstreams. It’s one my top priorities—to better use technology to do away with low-value work,” said one respondent, a GC in Australia.

A total of 60% of respondents reported a smooth transition to working remotely.

Meanwhile, 33% of respondents said they believed that they had transitioned to “trusted adviser” roles in their companies to help turn things around, as well as with regard to revenue. LOD said the organisations have “witnessed the value of ‘calm, legal thinking’ and how it can help in more than just legal problems.”

“COVID has clearly had a significant impact on the in-house legal and compliance sector but, as the survey shows, a number of the lessons learned are here to stay. Almost overnight, teams have had to become more agile and efficient and improve and refine their ability to prioritise and communicate effectively,” said Paul Cowling, LOD’s Australia managing director. “We suspect that in-house teams have taken steps in the past few months that may otherwise have taken years to implement and we must now embrace those changes and ensure they are sustainable for the long term.”

LOD CEO Tom Hartley said that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has spoken to the resilience of corporate legal teams.

“Without downplaying the severity of the pandemic on our personal and professional lives, the findings of our survey confirm our belief that the best corporate legal teams will improve through this crisis. We must embrace some of the more sustainable and efficient work practices that were made in the crucible of coronavirus,” he said.

The survey respondents were sourced from more than 250 companies in over 25 sectors worldwide.

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