Risk Update

Survey Report — Law Firm Risk Management Staffing, Strategy & Trends

I spent some time reviewing the 20-page 2021 Intapp risk staffing and trends report, which just hit the presses and is definitely worth a look: “2021 Risk Management Survey” —

  • “Law firm risk management continues to increase in complexity. A centralized risk management function can help firms achieve a consistent and scalable global application of risk policies and processes. But firms have taken a piecemeal approach to how they handle the various types of risk management activities. Intapp conducted a survey of law firms to understand how firms organize their risk teams and invest in technology across their offices globally.”
  • “Topics include:
    • Pandemic-driven impacts on risk-management activities and staffing
    • Increased range of dedicated risk-management staffs
    • Ongoing risk-management challenges
    • Key risk-management staffing and business-agility metrics”

One area I noted, given reader interest, was outside counsel guidelines, where the report notes:

  • “The survey data captured the total number of outside counsel guidelines (OCGs) and other client-tendered engagement terms reviewed by respondents’ firms. Although the data shows an expected increase based on firm size, firms with 1,000 or more lawyers are reviewing more than twice as many client terms compared to their large counterparts, and large firms are reviewing almost double the quantity as their midsize counterparts.”
  • “Survey data reveals a year-over-year increase in the number of OCGs and engagement terms reviewed across firm size, with enterprise firms outpacing midsize and large firms overall.”
  • “Further, the 2020 survey data shows that across firm size, firms are reviewing a range of 1 to 2 OCGs per lawyer annually.”
  • “For staff involved in the review of OCGs, the data shows that in-house counsel and risk lawyers are heavily involved across firm size; further, survey results reveal that members of accounting, IT, and finance teams also play significant roles.”
  • “When we drilled down into the data by firm size, we observed that large firms with 1,000 or more lawyers rely on a larger, more diverse set of reviewers compared to teams from small and midsize firms.”

See the complete survey report for more.