Survey reveals growing responsibilities and challenges for in-house counsel in 2023

In-house counsel lawyers in Canada are facing an increasing demand for their services

Survey reveals growing responsibilities and challenges for in-house counsel in 2023

The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) and Mondaq conducted the third expansive survey of Canadian in-house counsel lawyers in late 2023.

The survey revealed that in-house counsel lawyers in Canada are facing an increasing demand for their services, coupled with a surge in business responsibilities, according to findings based on 600 survey responses. The key takeaways from the report shed light on the evolving landscape for in-house legal professionals.

Growing demand in core areas

The demand for in-house legal services is rising, with a spotlight on critical areas. Fifty-seven percent anticipate increased activity in data privacy, 52 percent in risk and compliance, 43 percent in contract management, and 32 percent in dispute resolution and litigation.

Technological and human investment

The increase in demand was met with an increase in investment in technology, with 45 percent expected to spend more, while only 3 percent were expected to spend less. The survey also showed an increase in investment in people, with 45 percent expected to spend more and 3 percent expected to spend less.

Embrace of hybrid working

The survey underscored a shift toward hybrid working models, with 82 percent of departments operating on a hybrid basis. Sixty-four percent are expected to spend two or three days a week in the office, reflecting a blended approach to work.

Expanded role and accountability

The survey showed that in-house personnel shoulder broader responsibilities beyond their legal duties. The data revealed that over 47 percent of in-house counsel are also responsible for compliance, 25 percent for ethics, 22 percent for investigations, 19 percent for government relations, and 14 percent for ESG – marking a 75 percent increase since 2021.

Escalation of work-related stress

With increased demands and expanded responsibilities, work-related stress and anxiety are on the rise. Fifty percent of respondents have experienced an increase in stress and anxiety over the past year, with only 10 percent reporting a decline.

CCCA and Mondaq designed the survey in partnership with an advisory board composed of eminent in-house counsel across Canada.

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