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New National Surveys Provide Fodder for Health Sector Legal Affairs Departments

*Article Originally Published in Health Law Weekly and written by Anne Murphy and Michael W. Peregrine
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Several recent surveys and reports by governance and trade associations provide a useful overview of the duties, roles, challenges, and internal relationships of the corporate general counsel, as well as governing board needs and priorities. As such, these surveys provide a useful platform from which board leadership, senior executives, and the general counsel may engage in periodic dialogue on the effective functioning of the department of legal affairs. In addition, they provide insights for governing board members, outside counsel, and in-house counsel as to the evolving resource needs and strategic imperatives of health sector governing boards.

These surveys and reports include the 2020 Governing Board and General Counsel Survey co-conducted by The Governance Institute and the American Health Law Association (TGI/AHLA Survey); the 2021 edition of the annual Chief Legal Officers Survey from the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC Survey); and the 2021 EY Law Survey (conducted by Ernst & Young in conjunction with the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession) (EY Survey). Collectively, these are referred to throughout as the “Surveys.”

Taken together, these Surveys reflect the value associated with a well-resourced and functioning department of legal affairs, and with a corporate culture that highly values legal compliance. They also note, to varying degrees, the burdens that confront legal affairs departments in applying technologies and other resources to increase their effectiveness. Moreover, the Surveys offer a window into the strategic priorities and key resource needs for organizations, as well as predictions as to key legal considerations across industries.

The following discussion highlights key trends and outliers in governance, enterprise priorities, and role of in-house counsel, arising from these reports and surveys, with emphasis on how these trends may impact health sector legal operations.

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