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New Study From TerraLex and Parker Poe Shows Evolving Role of General Counsel

  • October 13, 2017

Miami, Fla. – The role of the corporate general counsel continues to evolve to include new, important areas of focus and responsibilities. While maintaining a firm handle on the traditional functions of the legal department, a just-released survey of general counsel reveals that their role is increasingly concerned with regulation and compliance, as well as data privacy and related cybersecurity issues. 

The new findings are contained in “The General Counsel Excellence Report 2017,” a survey sponsored by TerraLex, a referral network of more than 150 law firms. Parker Poe is the exclusive TerraLex member in North Carolina, and Raleigh partner Catharine Arrowood serves on the network's board of directors. The complete survey, which was undertaken by The Global Legal Post, can be accessed here. Similar surveys were undertaken in 2013 and 2015.

“The General Counsel Excellence Report and our experience demonstrate that no one type of solution works for every legal department,” said Harry Trueheart, Chairman and CEO of TerraLex, and Chairman Emeritus of Nixon Peabody LLP. “Certainly technology is playing a role both in managing work and managing outside counsel. Time and again, our member firms have demonstrated that they are adaptable to the approaches preferred by their clients. We have project management approaches to align our member teams with client preferences and the project management professionals in our member firms regularly collaborate to provide efficient solutions.”

In an effort to address the costs of their legal departments, a majority of the general counsel surveyed (59 percent) are now regularly asking their outside law firms for alternatives to the hourly billing model. However, while 53 percent of respondents feel that firms are offering better deals on fees, 59 percent feel that law firms should do more to help with outsourcing options.

“It is important for law firms to adapt their services as the role of general counsel changes,” said Doug Harmon, co-leader of Parker Poe’s Governance, Risk & Compliance practice group. “That is one reason we are putting a bigger emphasis on compliance, cybersecurity, and data privacy, including focusing on these topics at a recent forum we hosted in Charlotte. It’s also why we recently teamed up with clients to work on increasing efficiencies together.”

Finding the right foreign law firm is also a subject of the survey. Not surprisingly, the most trusted source for researching a law firm was a direct referral, with the use of a law firm network coming in second.

About TerraLex
TerraLex is one of the world’s leading international legal networks. With more than 155 top independent law firms and more than 17,000 attorneys in 100 countries, TerraLex members provide
the legal resources clients need to conduct seamless business worldwide.

About Parker Poe
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP has more than 200 lawyers in seven offices located in major markets across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The firm provides legal counsel to some of the largest companies and local governments in the region. It is also the exclusive North Carolina member of TerraLex.