By: Karmen Fox, web content editor of ACC Docket.

2017 was an eventful year for legal departments. From cyber attacks to natural disasters - several news stories demanded risk management. Thankfully, that’s where ACC members excel. These are the top lessons in-house counsel have learned this past year to help protect their company and grow in their careers.

Breaches

If the Equifax and Yahoo hacks have taught us anything, it’s that every company is susceptible to a cybersecurity attack. As such, in-house counsel’s top priority should be protecting client and customer data, by creating a breach prevention plan and knowing how to respond if hackers strike.

Artificial intelligence

Few legal trends are as polarizing or intimidating to in-house counsel

as artificial intelligence (AI)  Though many fear that AI will someday take their jobs, other lawyers have embraced AI to help them complete more mundane tasks. Still not convinced? ACC Columnist Aliya Ramji discusses why more law departments should get on board with new technologies.

Blockchain

Though Bitcoin’s growth might be a bubble waiting to pop, the rise of blockchain and fintech is not collapsing anytime soon. In fact, blockchain and smart contracts have become integral for general counsel. But as with any new technology, general counsel should be aware of its legal developments and court cases to avoid potential risks.

Diversity

Despite this technological progress, the law remains stagnant with its homogenous workforce. In fact, several publications consider the legal industry to be one of the “least diverse professions” in the United States. This lack of inclusion stifles innovation and company revenue. To address this issue, general counsel must strive to incorporate employees from all backgrounds to different levels of the organization, from top-level executives to new hires.

Hiring

A company must have a strong legal team in order to succeed. That begins by writing a strategic and inclusive job posting, sifting through a mountain of applications, and asking the right questions to find the best new employee. Once a candidate is selected, review local employment laws, and draft an employment agreement for when they decide to leave — if that time should come.

The Association of Corporate Counsel’s award-winning publication, ACC Docket, delivers in-depth news, opinions, and analysis making it the most trusted and authoritative publication of its kind. For further reading, please download a compilation of seventeen of the most popular ACC Docket articles. Topics include Avoiding Gatekeeper Liability, European Data Protection, Leveraging Law Department Metrics, and Optimizing Your Global Legal Team.