Annual CCCA survey reveals key trends and challenges in Canadian in-house legal sector

Eighty-two percent of legal departments adopted a hybrid working model

Annual CCCA survey reveals key trends and challenges in Canadian in-house legal sector

The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) and Mondaq have unveiled the findings of their third annual Canadian In-House Counsel Survey, shedding light on the evolving landscape of in-house legal practice in Canada.

Garnering responses from 600 participants across various sectors and job levels, this comprehensive survey offers insights into the current challenges, priorities, and trends affecting in-house counsel and legal departments nationwide.

Conducted between October and November 2023, the survey encompassed 38 questions spanning various topics, including organization and legal department activity, budgets, outsourcing, technology, innovation, and other key focus areas. Notably, a self-identification section was included to capture demographic information, with over two-thirds of respondents participating in this voluntary component.

The survey's results highlighted several critical findings for the in-house legal profession in Canada. Hybrid working models have become the norm, with 82 percent of legal departments adopting this approach. However, there is a noticeable shift towards requiring in-house counsel to spend more time in the office, with 64 percent of departments now expecting staff to be present for two to three days a week.

Demand for in-house legal services continues to rise, particularly in data privacy, compliance, contract management, and business strategy advisory areas. To meet this increased demand, many legal departments are turning to internal resources, investing in technology and personnel rather than significantly increasing spend on external counsel or alternative legal solution providers.

The survey also underscored the growing importance of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in the in-house legal sector. With legal departments facing new challenges related to technology adoption and AI integration, there is a pressing need for support in navigating these developments.

Additionally, the survey revealed concerns about work-related stress and anxiety among legal professionals, with 50 percent of respondents reporting an increase over the past year. This points to potential workload management issues and in-house counsel's well-being.

Despite the progress in many areas, the survey indicates a continued lack of focus on Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion (ED&I) within legal departments, with 39 percent of respondents stating that ED&I is not a priority. The CCCA and Mondaq's survey provides a snapshot of the Canadian in-house legal profession for 2024.


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