Fifty-seven percent of GCs list ESG among their top five risk areas for 2023: survey

Almost half of GCs say their organizations are either very strong or making positive strides in DEI

Fifty-seven percent of GCs list ESG among their top five risk areas for 2023: survey

General counsel and chief legal officers reported a significant uptick in their consideration for issues surrounding ESG and diversity, with 60 percent of participating general counsel noting that their organizations are concerned about ESG as a business imperative in a new report.

The second edition of The General Counsel Report 2023 by Ari Kaplan Advisors, FTI Technology and Relativity looks closely at how legal departments are handling issues in these categories, including their approach to related risks as well as attitudes toward corporate citizenship.

More than half (57%) of survey respondents listed ESG among their top five risk areas for 2023. Some cited the fact that ESG is impacting the allocation of resources and that the general counsel is responsible for ensuring ESG coverage, consistency and compliance across the entire organization.

Among the 79 percent of respondents who said they are experiencing increased risk and/or strains on capacity within their legal department, 100 percent listed ESG as a key area driving rising demand.

Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of respondents said they are experiencing a strain on legal department resources, budget and/or capacity.

When asked about their organization’s maturity across diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts, almost half (47%) said they are either very strong or making positive strides, while the rest were evenly split between feeling that their efforts were either moderately developing or moving slower than they would like.

When asked which of their diversity, equity & inclusion programs are most effective in recruiting, retaining and promoting diverse candidates and employees, the participants provided a range of suggestions. These included guest speakers, extensive training, internship programs to promote diverse hiring, leadership councils, roundtable discussions and employee resource groups.

Thirty chief legal officers from a range of industries and global geographies were interviewed about their roles. Their responses were compared to year-over-year analysis to illustrate the current state of the in-house legal department, how it has changed and what general counsel are focused on for the year ahead.

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