According to the findings of the 2022 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Survey, legal professionals are being challenged by the unprecedented growth of Environmental, Social and Governance legal concerns.
The survey of 751 legal professionals across Europe and the U.S. examined those demands and how prepared professionals believe they are to meet them. With new and rapidly growing areas in law, 77% of survey respondents report that coping with emerging and growing compliance areas, such as ESG and data privacy, is a significant trend, yet just 35% overall are very prepared to manage these new opportunities and demands.
ESG has emerged as a significant and specific demand on already over-burdened corporate legal departments, and will continue to grow. Demand, however, is outpacing law firms’ ability to respond. Forty-five percent of firms report demand for ESG guidance from corporate clients has increased over the past year, and 59% expect client demand for ESG guidance will increase over the next three years. Only 20% of firms believe they are very prepared to meet client demands for ESG services.
The survey also found that law firms are increasingly turning to tech, with more to come: 82% report one of the biggest changes they will see in the next three years is the Greater Use of Technology to Improve Productivity, and 63% say their firm plans to further increase their investment in software to support legal work over the next year.