Data security and technology top list of concerns for corporate legal executives, according to AlixPartners survey

18 January 2018

58% say data security is an important issue; 33% say they would pay a price premium for top-level security in e-discovery matters

NEW YORK – Data security and technology loom large for senior corporate legal and compliance professionals, according to the latest installment of an annual survey released today by AlixPartners, the global consulting firm. The AlixPartners 2018 Litigation and Corporate Compliance Survey polled more than 200 legal and compliance executives in companies representing more than 20 major industries in North America and Europe.

Data security is an “important” or “extremely important” issue for 58% of respondents and 33% say they would pay a price premium for the highest standard of data security in e-discovery matters. Meanwhile, over one-third (36%) say that in the 12 months preceding the survey they have implemented new technology designed to mitigate data security risk, while an additional 58% have kept levels the same. 

Additional survey highlights:

  • Litigation costs continue to be a concern, with 92% of respondents saying their spending on litigation has either stayed the same or increased (with 31% saying the latter) in the year preceding the survey. Meanwhile, 90% say their internal litigation departments have either stayed the same size or increased in size (22%), indicating no respite in internal cost pressures.

  • Cross-border disputes also continue to be an issue, with 91% of respondents saying the number of disputes across country lines increased or stayed the same in the 12 months preceding the survey. Contract disputes, employment disputes, and regulatory matters were the most common types of disputes reported. Meanwhile, 46% of respondents say they were involved in at least one cross-border arbitration case in the year preceding the survey, compared to 44% in AlixPartners’ survey last year, and only 8% say they expect such cases to decrease in the year ahead.

  • More than half of respondents (53%) say the proactive management of risk was “important” or “extremely important” to their company in the year preceding the survey, second only to controlling costs and data security. As in last year’s survey, identifying compliance program gaps, providing education and training, and performing regular compliance audits were cited as steps most often taken to reduce the risk of potential litigation. Meanwhile, nearly half of respondents (45%) said that in the year preceding the survey their companies used consulting firms to assist with commercial disputes, with “subject-matter expertise” (74%) and “responsiveness” (71%) being “important” or “extremely important” qualities for these firms to possess.

Louis Dudney, global leader of AlixPartners’ Investigations, Risks and Disputes practice and a managing director at the firm, said: “From all-too-real fears of data breaches to the growing regularity of cross-border disputes and rising litigation costs, our survey highlights that corporate legal executives are facing a number of evolving challenges. Risk mitigation is essential, and companies can protect themselves by proactively identifying compliance gaps and employing the latest technology and analytics tools.”

About the survey

The AlixPartners 2018 Litigation and Corporate Compliance Survey was conducted in August, September, and October 2017. It polled 239 senior corporate legal and compliance executives, including general counsel and compliance officers, from companies with annual revenues of $150 million or more, with 64% having revenues of $1 billion or more. Respondents represented over 20 major industries in the United States and Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

About AlixPartners  

In today’s fast-paced global market, timing is everything. You want to protect, grow or transform your business. To meet these challenges, we offer clients small teams of highly qualified experts with profound sector and operational insight. Our clients include corporate boards and management, law firms, investment banks, investors and others who appreciate the candor, dedication, and transformative expertise of our teams. We will ensure insight drives action at that exact moment that is critical for success. When it really matters