Skip to content
Corporate Law Departments

Podcast: What the data is saying in the recent “2022 State of Corporate Law Departments” report

Thomson Reuters Institute  Insights, Thought Leadership & Engagement

· 5 minute read

Thomson Reuters Institute  Insights, Thought Leadership & Engagement

· 5 minute read

Our latest Market Insights podcast dives deep into the recent “2022 State of Corporate Law Departments” report to decipher exactly what our data is showing

All industries underwent massive changes in how they conduct business operations as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Corporate law departments of all sizes and across many industries underwent dramatic shifts in workflow processes, strategic priorities, and perhaps most significantly, working environments. Indeed, that ongoing crisis loomed heavily throughout 2021 even as the whole world progressed — albeit slowly, and in fits and starts — into a new, post-pandemic era.

In the latest podcast available on the Thomson Reuters Institute Market Insights channel, Gina Jurva, attorney and manager of market insights and thought leadership content for corporates and government at the Thomson Reuters Institute, speaks with Jennifer Dezso, Director of Client Relations at Thomson Reuters Market Insights and Thought Leadership.

The podcast is a targeted look at several different data points from the recent Thomson Reuters Institute’s 2022 State of Corporate Law Departments report, including key priorities for the next 12 months, tips to improve communication between corporate law departments and their outside law firms, and a legal technology roadmap.

The full report provides insight to help corporate law departments:

      • benchmark legal spend and team size against the latest peer data;
      • optimize systems and processes to drive greater efficiency by learning from others; and
      • innovate for the future by understanding how other law departments are implementing such transformational change.

The podcast first details how the report was compiled, allowing Dezso to explain how her team reviewed benchmarking data and anecdotal interviews from thousands of lawyers using three key data sources — Thomson Reuters’ Sharplegal and Stellar Performance market research studies, as well as its Legal Department Operations (LDO) Index, which tracks spend management plans and sophistication, department priorities, the maturity of their legal operations, and their staffing and diversity plans.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

These carefully analyzed data points provided a unique 360-degree view of the relationship between corporate law departments and their external law firms.

In the podcast, the pair also discuss another important insight from the report: What are corporate law departments’ stated top priorities over the next 12 months? Dezso notes that although the same three priorities did not change much year-over-year, for 2022 we did see a return to efficiency as a stronger priority for departments. Similarly strong were departments’ enduring purposes to i) safeguard the business; and ii) deliver work effectively and efficiently.

Dezso and Jurva also talk about what law firms identify as ways in which corporate law departments can improve scoping to better optimize outcomes, including:

      • involving outside counsel at an early stage — the sooner, the better;
      • providing of a comprehensive brief and detailed background information;
      • clearly articulating needs and goals; and
      • setting appropriate deadlines.

Further, the podcast delves into the rise of corporate law departments’ use of legal technologies, which has substantially increased since 2018. Today, more than one-half of corporate law departments indicate that they are actively using e-signatures, tech-enabled legal research (which was not measured in the 2018 survey), and contract and document management systems.

Dezso also reminds the audience that the most successful law departments will be those that leverage the momentum of the past two years to actively embrace this transformative change, greatly improving how they integrate and operate both within their organizations and in utilizing outside legal expertise.

Episode transcript.