2020 legal department strategy survey

How chief legal officers are leading during COVID-19

In July and August of 2020, many months into COVID-19, Deloitte conducted a survey of chief legal officers to see how daily work and legal department strategy are being impacted. Workloads have surged as legal departments address a host of pandemic-related issues while actively participating in business continuity and cybersecurity efforts.

Key Deloitte 2020 legal department COVID-19 survey findings

With COVID-19 accelerating the pace of change, legal executives report increasing workloads but are charting the path forward, citing both increased investments in technology and greater reliance on alternative legal services providers as probable responses to current conditions. In this survey of 131 chief legal officers and senior legal and compliance executives, we explore the challenges ahead, the most pressing issues for the legal function, and even bright spots in the function’s response to COVID-19.

Questions for chief legal officers to consider

Under increasing pressure that was only intensified by COVID-19, chief legal officers are responding by embracing technology and adjusting operating models, while building stronger and deeper collaborations within their own organization and with outside providers. Following are some key questions to consider for near- and longer-term legal department strategy and operations.



Long term

  • How do we balance increased workloads?
  • Do we have effective processes in place for collaborating in a virtual environment?
  • Do we have the right technologies to enable continued efficiency and service levels?
  • How do we address the well-being of individuals and teams now and over the long-term?
  • Do we need new or different leadership skills?
  • Are we empowering positive and effective work relationships for teaming in virtual environments?



In this work-from-home and increasingly digital

world, how do we:

  • Train junior lawyers effectively?
  • Pass on institutional knowledge?
  • Build resilience?
  • Maintain a culture of compliance and establish trust?

About the survey

Conducted July 28–August 13, 2020, to understand how legal departments are responding to COVID-19 and potential future impact; 131 survey respondents, including chief legal officers, chief compliance officers, and senior legal executives.
Four major themes:

  • Overall enterprise response to the pandemic
  • Technology investments and impact of factors such as budget cuts, workloads etc.
  • Changes in work dynamics and staffing models post COVID-19
  • Top legal challenges and legal priorities for organizations

Deloitte research and resources for CLOs

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