GC report from FTI Consulting and Relativity: in-house legal teams carry increased technology responsibility

FTI ConsultingFTI Consulting, Inc. today announced findings from Part 3 of The General Counsel Report 2022: Leading with Endurance Through Risk, Culture and Technology Challenges.

The Technology segment’s annual study of corporate legal departments, in partnership with global legal and compliance technology company Relativity, shares insights from one-on-one interviews between Ari Kaplan and chief legal officers at large corporations. In Part 3, respondents discussed technology trends within their departments, including the state of digital transformation as well as how in-house counsel rate themselves and their peers on technology competency.


“Technology modernization and law department transformation have continued to evolve as critical priorities for in-house counsel,” said Wendy King, a Senior Managing Director within FTI Technology. “Part 3 of this year’s General Counsel Report highlighted several interesting developments on the technology front, but most of all was the emphasis that technology issues increasingly fall on the GC’s shoulders alongside a myriad of additional responsibilities. To maintain the endurance needed to face the endless list of demands and risks, general counsel will need to invest in technology road-mapping, training and adoption programs for their teams and analytics tools to effectively do more with less.”

Key findings covered in Part 3 include:

  • 97% of general counsel play some part in their organization’s technology ecosystem, and 87% of those said they are heavily involved in technology planning and purchasing, beyond providing budget approval alone.
  • Involvement in technology decision making increased by 13% from the previous two years, due to either the general counsel’s enhanced role or the appointment of more staff. One respondent said within their department and organization, “the subject of technology has become more prominent.”
  • The pandemic has acted as an accelerator for technology initiatives among 43% of organizations, and one-third of general counsel said they already have roadmaps in place to support their legal departments through the implementation of advanced technologies and refreshes of core systems.
  • Only 33% of general counsel agree that attorneys have adequate technology knowledge and capabilities. This is 20% lower than in the previous year’s study, and many respondents said they believe — given increasing levels of data risk and the demand for legal department efficiency — that the need for technical competence is greater than ever, with some respondents seeing it as a critical area.
  • 73% said they are not currently using AI, but many acknowledged the potential value AI could bring to their department in gathering intelligence in early case assessment, contract analysis, understanding large pools of data and matters relating to M&A.


David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel and Legal Education Director at Relativity, added, “The results of the third annual edition of The General Counsel Report indicate the era of the ‘TechnoLawyer’ continues, with the overwhelming majority of chief legal officers reporting substantial involvement in technology planning — something they may not have anticipated while studying torts in law school. We did see a year-over-year decline in the assessment of attorney technical competence as well as only limited use of artificial intelligence. However, with many of the chief legal officers in the report recognizing the growing need for tech-savvy lawyers and some seeing the potential value of AI to corporate legal departments, the worlds of law and technology continue to merge.”

Part 3 of The General Counsel Report 2022: Leading with Endurance Through Risk, Culture and Technology Challenges is available for download here.

Legal IT Today #32

Demographics and Methodology

During July and August 2021, Ari Kaplan personally interviewed 30 general counsel with predominantly Fortune 1000 companies. Nearly 57% had revenues that exceed $1 billion, and 70% had over 1,000 employees. Most were in telecommunications and technology (40%); 13% percent were from life sciences; and 13% were from manufacturing; with the remainder from the construction, energy, retail, real estate, consumer products, R&D and advertising/marketing industries.


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