REUTERS | Ricardo Moraes

In 2015 GC100 (the association of general counsel and company secretaries working in FTSE 100 companies) published a short guide, Overcoming the barriers to in-house lawyers doing pro bono work.  The GC100 Executive Committee is keen to build on some of the lessons learned since the guide was published and, where appropriate, continue to support pro bono efforts by the in-house community.

To help gather the insights needed, the Committee issued a short survey to build an understanding of the current landscape for pro bono work among the in-house community. The summary of responses to this poll will inform GC100’s ongoing work and potential actions to support this important aspect of the legal and governance professions. This post highlights some of the key themes from the survey, which closed on 15 October 2021.

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REUTERS | Maxim Shemetov

Key developments for in-house lawyers this month focus on climate change, with the 26th conference of the parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being held in Glasgow on 1-12 November 2021. In advance of COP 26, the government has published its long-awaited Net Zero Strategy.

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REUTERS | Vasily Fedosenko

The COVID-19 pandemic era has demanded new and evolving ways of working. But as working practices change, especially with the adoption of remote and hybrid working, some elements of an in-house counsel’s work have become even more important.

Having clear and consistent guidelines and approaches has always been important to the delivery of effective outcomes, but perhaps even more so in a world of wholly or partly distributed teams, where it can be difficult to oversee the approach to issues in person. In that context, one method of establishing such guidelines, legal playbooks, could become an increasingly important resource.

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REUTERS | Ognen Teofilovski

Last week, the Practical Law In-house Consultation board met to discuss some of the pain points that are currently exercising them and their colleagues in the compliance space. The discussion led to some valuable takeaways that are summarised in this post.

All the attendees agreed that companies are struggling to keep on top of an ever-increasing compliance burden. One organisation, keen to avoid a false sense of security, is undertaking an exercise to map the strategic, business process and business operational risks it faces against the control and assurance activities it undertakes in each line of defence. Their key question is: how much reliance can they place on their controls and the assurance activities they undertake?

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REUTERS | A man carrying an umbrella walks across the Old Town Square during a rainstorm in Prague, May 30, 2013. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Legal Geek 2021

Last week I attended Legal Geek and, embracing the new hybrid working world, my first day was online and the second was at the venue in Brick Lane, London. Although Legal Geek continues to focus on legal tech, and in particular start-ups, this year there were some interesting sessions that examined the legal industry more broadly.

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LawCare recently published the findings of its Life in the Law research study. The study into wellbeing across the legal profession captured data between October 2020 and January 2021 from more than 1,700 legal professionals in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

One of the key findings was that 69% of legal professionals surveyed had experienced mental ill-health in the 12-months prior to completing the survey. In addition, burnout was found to be endemic within the industry, with the average burnout score putting legal professionals at high risk.

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REUTERS | People run past Tower Bridge in the early morning autumnal sunshine, in London, Britain, October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson - RC129ACEEA00

Ever wondered about what life is like on the Practical Law editorial team? We often get substantive questions about our content but sometimes people are curious to see behind the scenes too.

Later this week, one of our editorial directors will be hosting an informal chat about life on our editorial team. You’ll hear from a couple of our editors about their experiences at Practical Law and have a chance to ask any questions of your own.

Sign up to join us here.

REUTERS | People enjoy the sunset at the seafront in Marseille, France, June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

In-house counsel can play a vital role in helping their organisations guard against greenwashing and achieve legitimate net zero by ensuring that they deliver on their environmental commitments, and it also means that individual counsel are aligning with their own values. This is a complex and fast evolving field, and Lawyers for Net Zero has been established to support in-house counsel to navigate it.

The number of environmental, social and governance (ESG) and climate risk indicators are growing exponentially, from the North American wildfires to the Central European floods, together with a myriad of legal, societal and economic factors. They all highlight the need for businesses to act rapidly if they are to become part of the solution and avoid reputational or regulatory failure.

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REUTERS | Dominic Ebenbichler

The Autumn 2021 Budget will be delivered on 27 October, while changes to the Immigration Rules come into force on 1 October and the extended deadline for gender pay gap reporting ends on 5 October. The government has also published a consultation proposing reforms to the current right for employees to request flexible working.

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REUTERS | Andrew Winning

Following the European Commission’s adequacy findings for the UK back in June, to a collective sigh of relief, there has been continued focus on cross-border data exports over the summer. On 11 August, the ICO launched a public consultation on key aspects of the post-Brexit international transfer regime under the UK GDPR .

The consultation covers proposals for:

  • Updated ICO guidance on international transfers.
  • Transfer risk assessments (TRAs), including a new TRA tool.
  • A new international data transfer agreement (IDTA) to replace the European Commission’s standard contractual clauses.

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