A new report by legal AI pioneer, LawGeex, about GCs in the US, based on an analysis of 34,000 LinkedIn profiles and job adverts, found that while ‘business skills’ are today central to the working life of GCs, few have the skills necessary for digital transformation.
This was especially clear in relation to skills that relate to: operational efficiency and productivity, as well process efficiency, i.e. the areas where the use of AI and automation tools are going to be most of value to the legal function.
That is to say, if GCs – who are clearly the driving force in the purchase and management of legal inputs into a business – don’t have skills in areas such as efficiency and productivity, then they can’t be expected to be easily drawn to the logic that legal tech applications that provide automation will be of great use to them.
While it’s great that GCs are very business focused and follow economic matters that are important to the business as a whole, they seem to have not picked up the business skills that relate to driving process and operational efficiency in their own part of the company, i.e. the inhouse legal function….which is rather ironic….and clearly something that will have to change.
Luckily, some of that gap is being covered by Legal Ops professionals, but, GCs can’t really leave this essential area to others entirely. After all, they are the boss.
The report also found that there are now nearly 113,000 GCs in the US, and they are paid an average of $408,000, with many ‘placing more value in their management skills, rather than legal prowess’.
This is reflected in that management skills are the top skill listed in GC LinkedIn profiles, cited by 53% of all GCs as a core skill on their LinkedIn profile, followed by litigation (47%), corporate law (41%) and then legal writing (35%)
Also, women make up 31% of the GC population (dropping to 30% within the Fortune 500), in the US, the report found.
There’s a story about two people who, a long time ago, were sent to scout Africa to assess the market for shoes. One reports: “Pass. Very few wear shoes.” The other scout writes: “Very few wear shoes. What a huge opportunity!”