09 September 2013 at 13:20 BST

General counsel eye up the board

One in five general counsel aspire to sit on the boards of their companies or another company, according to new research released today.

GC Report: Aspirations to join the board Horia Bogden

The GC Excellence Report revealed that 94 per cent were convinced that having lawyers on the board improved internal governance whilst three in four said it encouraged lower levels of corporate risk-taking and default. 
The research, carried out by Global Legal Post in association with Terralex, surveyed 270 heads of legal globally and looked at a range of issues.
Commercially involved
General  counsel  are more involved in the commercial strategy of their company than five years ago. Two in three who say they are now more involved with the formulation of commercial strategy in their company than five years ago.  
The research also revealed that general counsel believed law firms were making more effort to understand business needs and communicate better with their clients. However, they are still falling down on a wide range of areas including offering better deals on fees, helping clients reduce costs by supplying outsourcing options and using technology to improve the way they deliver services. 
Client demands
The number one demand from clients was for law firms to show better commercial awareness with maintaining existing services at a lower overall cost coming second. 
The research also revealed that business heads are still involved in selecting law firms in one in eight companies and that corporates involved in M&A, divestitures and strategic alliances chose law firms mainly on the basis of long standing relationships with an average 60 per cent going this route, law firm panels second with one in three using them and 10 per cent using law firm networks. Download here for a copy of the report

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