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KPMG: General Counsel influence grows

By Rob Starr, Content Manager,

Companies around the world are threatened by a growing tide of regulation, according to a new report by KPMG which charts the views of 320 in-house General Counsel, but finds those using their legal skills to help make commercial decisions are the ones that will best thrive in the new environment.

“Companies are facing a cloud of regulation that is adding a layer of complexity to almost every commercial decision that they need to take and risks casting a further shadow at a time of low economic growth in mature economies,” said Kathryn Britten, Global Head of KPMG’s Legal Services Sector. ” General Counsel are increasingly being required to act as the barometer for their organizations, gauging the pressure and helping to scan the horizon for future threats.  It is clear that involving general counsel in commercial decision making is now the norm for those companies that are successfully navigating today’s risk landscape. ”

The need for General Counsel to pick up the mantle is clearly highlighted, with the increase in volume and complexity of regulation flagged as the greatest risk to organizations over the next five years by 90 percent of respondents.  For General Counsel operating in the technology sector this is expected to play out in the form of disputes. While the overall average across all sectors was 51 percent, 83 percent of General Counsel working in the hi-tech sector agreed that the number of disputes would rise over the next 5 years with the biggest areas expected to be within regulation and intellectual property (both 78 percent).

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