Each year, Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting, Inc. conduct research to gain insight on which current legal issues raise concern for public company directors and corporate general counsel and to analyze related legal and governance events and trends. In early 2012, the organizations gathered data by surveying 11,340 directors and 1,957 general counsel. Questions were asked of both groups to compare and contrast their perspectives; other queries were specifically targeted toward either directors or GCs. The 2012 Law and the Boardroom survey results that follow once again offer interesting insight into the thoughts and opinions of these two critical governance groups.
Several key themes emerged from the 2012 Law and the Boardroom study that reflect changes taking place within corporate America. During the past decade, for example, U.S. businesses have expanded globally and stepped up the use of online communication as well as web-based products and delivery channels. Thus, increasingly, corporate America is operating in a world where connectivity is high and there are few physical barriers. Accordingly, for the first time, data security was earmarked by the largest percentage of responding directors (48%) and general counsel (55%) as an issue of concern. The second most prevalent response for both directors and GCs centers on operational risk, which topped directors’ list in 2011 and moved up several places for general counsel this year. Finally, on the risk/concern spectrum, director and GCs flagged loss of reputation as an issue of critical concern in 2012.