DLA Piper Launches In-House Lawyer Recruitment Survey in Africa

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Changing nature of In-House roles – 57% stated that the most senior lawyers in their organizations now have direct input into business strategy; The war for talent – ​​only 21% feel they will be able to find and recruit internal lawyers with the appropriate level of experience; Limited use of key technology tools – document review software (11%), eSignatures (10%), contract lifecycle management tools (8%), or legal spending management software and electronic billing (5%).

DLA Piper Africa, in partnership with The Legal 500, has published its inaugural WIN Insights Report (What In-house Lawyers Need) for Africa and related Benchmarking Reports. The report is based on in-depth conversations with some of the continent’s leading General Counsels (GC) in addition to a survey of more than 300 internal lawyers across Africa. Both reports explore the changing role of GC in Africa, team structure, the war for talent and the use of technology.

  1. The changing role of GC in Africa

Over the past ten years, general counsel across the world’s financial centers have seen dramatic changes in their roles, becoming trusted advisers to businesses, key figures in corporate leadership and managers of legal teams that, in some cases, can exceed the size of the company. international law firm. All while going beyond traditional legal work to engage and often lead within their organization on a variety of business-critical matters.

Our survey shows a clear picture of how important the role of general counsel is with more than half (57%) stating that the most senior lawyer in their organization now has direct input into business strategy, while 79% said they feel the role. In-house attorneys have grown in recent years.

  1. Legal team setup for success

To meet evolving business needs, African general counsel must not only develop a voice and adapt to new and ever-changing areas of practice; they must also find a way for the legal team to handle operations in a wide, and often growing, geographic area.

Our survey shows that African legal teams are equitably divided between those operating from a central team with responsibility for all issues across Africa (37%), those who prefer a decentralized model with lawyers embedded in the field (30%) and those who take one of the mixed or alternative approaches (33%). Interestingly, the same can be said of global multinationals operating in Africa with little difference between the different structures that exist for these types of organizations when compared to their African-headquartered counterparts. For global multinationals, in terms of the optimal way to organize legal responsibility for Africa, they are equally divided, with 30% taking a centralized approach, 21% preferring a decentralized approach, and 40% adopting a mixed structure.

  1. War for talent

With the number of legal departments across Africa increasing, finding a way to provide definite career advancement for high-quality lawyers is likely to be a major challenge for general counsel. Our survey highlights how difficult this is with only 21% of those surveyed saying they can recruit internal lawyers with the appropriate level of experience, compared to 39% who say recruiting and retaining staff at that level is a challenge. they want. With more than half (51%) of those surveyed reporting that they will expand their team in the coming months, this challenge is expected to have a major impact on Africa’s internal landscape. In terms of the types of skills sought, our GC panel agreed that finding lawyers who are prepared to accept the changing nature of internal roles is as important as recruiting certain legal skills.

  1. Use of technology

For legal technology vendors, the global pandemic forcing businesses to adapt to working remotely has created significant opportunities. For many African GCs, shock therapy has also proven to be a blessing in disguise. For most teams, this is a moment to reflect on whether longstanding best practices are really best practices. While 64% of those surveyed said African legal teams were already using technology to assist with their workloads, only a minority reported using legal technology such as document review software (11%), eSignatures (10%), contract lifecycle management tools (8 %), or legal and e-billing expense management software (5%). With global spending on legal technology predicted to triple by 2025, vendors are starting to do a lot of propelling the African market. At the same time, a younger generation of lawyers across the continent are beginning to see familiarity with legal technology as a prerequisite for future careers in law.

Those who are willing to accept new ways of working will also often face the problem of budget constraints. Nearly half of those surveyed (41%) said they would struggle to secure a budget for the new technology, while even those who were confident of receiving support felt implementation would be a challenge.

Angela Mndolwa, moderator at our report launch event and partner at DLA Piper Africa’s Tanzania office commented: “With the unprecedented changes in the African business environment, the internal legal team is at the forefront of the revolution. We are proud to produce the first report looking into the future of Africa’s internal legal team. Our report highlights the changing role of internal legal departments working on and across continents; challenges to meet the demands of new and growing businesses and share the tips and tricks that enable some of Africa’s most experienced GCs to succeed. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all Africa-based and Africa-focused general counsel who have given their time to contribute.”

Allan Cohen, Research Editor, The Legal 500 said: “We were delighted when DLA Piper Africa approached us to partner with them on this exciting project. As two organizations committed to the development of legal talent, we see a gap in the market with Africans being significantly under-represented in global programs and a lack of content developed exclusively with African in-house lawyers in mind. These reports are a step in the right direction to change that, providing useful benchmarking data for organizations operating in Africa on the size, structure and form of legal teams.”

To register for either the Benchmark or Insights report, please click here (

Distributed by the APO Group on behalf of DLA Piper.

Media Contact:
Peter Otero,
Public Relations Manager, DLA Piper,
phone, +44 (0)207 153 7617
email: [email protected]

About DLA Piper:
DLA Piper is a global law firm with attorneys located in more than 40 countries across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, positioning us to assist clients with their legal needs worldwide. In certain jurisdictions, this information may be considered a solicitor’s advertisement.

About DLA Piper Africa:
DLA Piper Africa is a Swiss verein whose members consist of independent law firms in Africa that work with DLA Piper.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. Content is not monitored by the Business Africa editorial team and is not content that has been vetted or validated by our editorial team, evidence readers or fact checkers. The publisher is fully responsible for the contents of this announcement.

DLA Piper Launches In-House Lawyer Recruitment Survey in Africa

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