As I’m sure you’ve heard, ACC is celebrating its 30th year. It’s hard to believe that a shared lunch between distinguished members of our profession yielded an idea that has evolved into the leading, global association for in-house counsel. Well, it’s really not that hard to believe — after all, we have more than 30,000 members around the world contributing to the success of the organization, and to our ever-changing profession. Without your contributions of time, expertise and invaluable resources, we would not have made it this far.
Speaking of resources, over the last 30 years, ACC has introduced a variety of tools to better serve our growing membership, along with its expanding needs as in-house counsel. We offer InfoPaksSM — in-depth, practical primers that are smartly packaged to save you time — and ACC Newsstand — a collaborative initiative (and a favorite of our members) with newsfeed service Lexology that delivers essential know-how and market intelligence to you. Our Contract Advisor is (not to toot our own horn) the very first resource of its kind, and our Census Survey is the only comprehensive industry study providing unique insight into the in-house counsel community. Newer resources include the ACC Docket column, “Wisdom of the Crowd,” which poses members’ questions and answers from ACC eGroups, and the much-anticipated ACC Chief Legal Officers (CLO) 2013 Survey.
The survey, conducted by ACC with support from Avenue M Group, not only examined the issues that CLOs deemed top-of-mind over the last 12 months, but also the issues they find pertinent today, as well as those that are just now emerging on the horizon. We thank the 1,104 chief legal officers from 36 countries who took the time to offer their insights. I’d like to share a few of those insights with you.
Let’s start with what many CLOs consider the foundation of every law department –– the importance of having a strong ethics and compliance program in place. The survey found that a primary concern among chief law officers today –– as well as in the past year and into the next –– is ethics and compliance, and regulatory or governmental changes. I’d bet these issues are of great concern to every member of the in-house team, especially as change within our regulatory environment has become constant.
Another issue highlighted in the survey that will come as no surprise is that of data protection and privacy. As we collect and store more and more data, which is often housed between work and personal devices, how that data is protected is something of concern today. And, as technology has no plans to slow down tomorrow, neither will this concern. To give you a few numbers, the study showed that 75 percent of participants indicated “some level of importance for information privacy over the past 12 months.” Further, 20 percent of those surveyed who indicated that the issue of data protection was “less important in the past 12 months,” still believed that privacy concerns would be of greater importance in the next 12 months.
In addition, we know that whistleblower laws, anti-bribery and healthcare reform are important to CLOs, but the survey found that these issues were ranked lowest in terms of importance, both over the last year and looking ahead.
There are many other juicy tidbits from this survey that I’d love to share with you (like the fact that 81 percent of those surveyed like their jobs, and 77 percent spent the majority of last year advising executives and participating in strategic corporate issues), but a blog post can only be so long! The survey itself is easy to navigate, and allows you to hone in on sections of the most importance to you. Just like all of our resources, the CLO Survey is just one other option available to you, intended to aid your daily practice. I hope you do get an opportunity to explore it, as well as the resources mentioned above, and others that I did not mention. The list is long! If you have any questions about accessing any of our resources, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Legal Resources Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full Chief Legal Officers (CLO) 2013 Survey is available at http://www.acc.com/closurvey.