In-house lawyers feel most vulnerable in these areas

Out of 16 areas, only two emerged in which in-house teams feel confident they are fit for purpose

In-house lawyers feel most vulnerable in these areas

In-house lawyers feel they are not prepared to meet the challenges posed in most areas of their practice, a new study from a national firm in the UK has revealed.

Of 16 areas identified by Irwin Mitchell in it’s the Future of In-House Legal report, only two emerged in which in-house teams felt confident they were fit for purpose.

Asked how ready their teams are to meet demands and challenges of their organisations in 2025, in-house team members said they were confident in terms of values (64%), as well as level of empowerment and autonomy (51%).

Teams felt most vulnerable in use of technology, wherein only 4% said their teams were ready. Next were processes (6%), structure and key performance indicators (each with 13%), and succession planning (15%).

Lawyers were also wary about the 2025 challenges they will face in terms of their skill set, with only 16% indicating they felt confident. Teams were also low on budget and resource availability, which received positive responses from just 18% of the respondents.

The study, conducted by The Thriving Company for Irwin Mitchell, is based on responses from 113 in-house team members. Seven out of 10 of the respondents are in leadership roles, either as head of in-house legal or as general counsel.

Irwin Mitchell found that there was also a widespread lack of confidence among in-house teams in their third-party arrangements, with only 27% saying that they are. This was followed by ability to respond to change (28%), understanding of the role (35%), and demonstrating behaviours needed to meet vision (36%).

In-house lawyers were more confident in their relationship with the board (37%), influence of the legal team (38%), and in having an agile and flexible workforce (42%).

“This report highlights that the difference in the challenges faced by teams are considerable. However, the common theme is that there is an expectation that technology will solve many of the problems created by an ever more complex working environment, but of equal importance is the need to develop the business skills and operating model of in-house teams so that they can deliver the services that their businesses require,” Irwin Mitchell partner Stuart Padgham said.

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