Only 25% of in-house lawyers think they’re fully prepared for coming cyberattacks: ACC report

Cybersecurity is expected to the biggest regulatory concern for those in in-house legal

Only 25% of in-house lawyers think they’re fully prepared for coming cyberattacks: ACC report

Just 25% of in-house lawyers believe that they’re completely ready to defend against cyberattacks and cybersecurity breaches, according to a report released by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Australia and Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.

The 2023 In-house Counsel Trends Survey Report revealed that for 78% of the in-house lawyers surveyed, the challenge of shielding their organisations from cyberattacks was expected to be the greatest regulatory concern for the next 12 months. In anticipation of this challenge, 75% of in-house lawyers are stepping up their risk management initiatives by bolstering their approaches to the collection, processing and storage of personal data.

While data security was highlighted as one of the major disrupters to the traditional in-house counsel role, respondents still regarded technology as the biggest disrupter. For in-house counsel, investment in tech could improve the way they work, as well as bolster work-life balance.

While many organisations are putting importance on investing in matter and document management tools, the lack of product knowledge and budget constraints continued to be obstacles in digitisation; 47% of respondents indicated in the survey that a key challenge was implementing new tools and software solutions to remain competitive and to effectively serve businesses.

In addition, even as businesses grow increasingly concerned with ESG compliance and reporting, just 12% of respondents indicated that their organisations were “very prepared” in this regard, while 8% were not prepared.

Nonetheless, the report also showed that organisations continue to view in-house counsel as critical to the business. More than 50% of the respondents indicated that they worked directly under their CEOs; 53% were present at all board meetings, and 65% indicated that they were being consulted on business decisions at least most of the time. 

The annual In-house Counsel Trends Survey Report looks into the key practices, areas of concern, and challenges for in-house legal counsel from the past year. This year’s study kicked off in March and surveyed over 200 respondents from corporate, government, and not-for-profit organisations. A total of 43% of the respondents are CLOs, GCs and heads of legal.


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