Why 70% of In-House Counsel Lack the Tech Needed to Work Effectively – A Report by EY and Harvard Law

According to a report by EY Law and Harvard Law School, “fewer than a third of in-house counsel globally believe they have the technology they need to do their jobs effectively, with nearly all legal departments facing challenges to secure budgets for tech investment”.

The survey included responses from over 2000 business leaders within 17 industries, 22 countries and interviews with 1000 leaders of law departments. It showed that 70% of in-house counsel lack adequate tech and 97% are unable to secure funding for it. The survey respondents claimed that the biggest struggle when it comes to finding investment for the legal tech budget is getting buy-in from the C-suite.

Cornelius Grossmann, EY Global Law co-leader, said: “As the world starts to move toward economic recovery, enabling growth will be a crucial priority for organisations all over the world. If organisations are to thrive and businesses are to remain compliant, law, procurement and commercial contracting departments will need to ensure they are ready to face an ever-growing list of regulatory risks.”

The report also showed that although 59% of GCs think increased use of technology would reduce overall costs, only half of legal departments have expanded their adoption of tech over the last year. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 87% of the survey respondents felt their time was used inefficiently on low-value tasks that could be automated if their department was willing to invest in automation solutions.

Kate Barton, EY Global’s vice chair for tax, said: “If legal departments are to remain effective in our increasingly global, complex and interconnected regulatory environment, they must act fast to transform their legal operations and invest in the right technology. Only then will they be able to keep pace with a fast-growing list of regulatory, cyber and operational risks confronting organisations today.”

Considering legal department workloads are projected to increase by 25% over the next three years, it is concerning that 75% of the survey respondents said they do not expect budgets to adjust in response to this growing workload.