Legal leaders must look beyond pandemic-related risks: Gartner

US research firm identifies four key risk themes for legal and compliance in 2022

Legal leaders must look beyond pandemic-related risks: Gartner

US research and advisory firm Gartner Inc has identified four emerging risk trends that legal and compliance departments should anticipate over the next two years. These trends will determine the significance of legal, compliance and privacy risks to organizational objectives and the demand for new legal and compliance services.

“The pandemic was a huge shock for most organizations: the last two years have been about organizational survival,” said Abbott Martin, vice president, research in the Gartner Legal & Compliance practice. “It’s only now that legal, regulatory and social systems are catching-up with new conditions and the extent of technological change that has occurred.”

To help legal leaders make sense of the new risk landscape as organizations start to emerge from pandemic crisis mode, Gartner has identified four key themes that help to explain the many risks they face:

  1. Evolving Societal Expectations

Fundamentally, the role of businesses in society is changing. The influence of stakeholders has grown, and their expectations have both shifted and, in some places, are converging on new visions of corporate purpose. Organizations that do not keep pace with this change face punishing reactions from governments, customers, supply chain partners, employees, and other stakeholders.

  1. The New Employee-Employer Relationship

The pandemic was a catalyst for many people to reevaluate their working lives and for companies to think differently about how work gets done. This is reflected in what is often referred to as “the great resignation” and in staff shortages across industries.

Legal and compliance departments will need to build the policy infrastructure, administer vaccine policies across jurisdictions and help the company manage the potential for significant employee and legal attrition.

  1. Geopolitical Competition and Corporate Disruptions

A growing mismatch between what the public expects and what governments deliver is driving tension within and across societies. This widening gap portends more political volatility and more country-specific approaches to economic and regulatory governance.

The cost and complexity of regulatory compliance is likely to rise and so will the value of relationships with local regulators and business partners. Corporate resilience will become a key competitive differentiator for many firms facing such a volatile geopolitical environment with increasing impacts on trade, tariffs, ransomware, cybersecurity and M&A

  1. New Frontiers of Technology Regulation

The legal and regulatory system is adapting to a corporate landscape increasingly driven by data, platforms and autonomous decision making. Regulators and courts are putting in place rules that will govern competition, AI use, and the use and housing of personal information.

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