In-house legal departments are not making the most of innovative technology because of gaps in knowledge and skills, a report examining the key issues affecting general counsel suggests.

City firm Clyde & Co and Winmark, which conducts business research, spoke to 89 GCs and 21 board members for their latest Looking Glass report.

Many GCs cited a lack of knowledge as a reason for finding it difficult to decide what technology would make the best investment. A quarter of GCs implemented technological initiatives that had fallen below expectations.

Nearly half of GCs thought data analytics will have a ‘high impact’ in their business within the next couple of years. However, only 22% had a ‘good understanding’ of the innovation and legal implications. Four in 10 thought AI will have a similar impact, but three in 10 understood it well. The report states that GCs were more confident in understanding AI for document review purposes.

Over three-quarters of GCs and board directors thought cyber attacks pose a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk. However, 42% of GCs and 33% of directors did not have a crisis management plan.

Isabel Ost, legal director at Clyde & Co, told the report: ‘Organisations must put together crisis management plans and practise their responses for data breaches and cyber attacks. Both present a severe risk for a company’s operations and reputation. No IT systems are infallible and human error continues to expose organisations so it is essential to be prepared for the worst.’