Home / The Latin American GC: Rising to the challenge


When we first drafted this foreword, it said that although our focus in this report is on personal development for GCs, the world in which a GC works does make a difference to their role. Recent events have confirmed that in a way we could never have imagined.

As we surveyed and interviewed GCs across Latin America, no-one had heard of Covid-19. But now we are publishing this report in what seems like a different world from the one where we gathered our data.

Clearly, we have to ask: is it still relevant? The coronavirus has brought not only countless human tragedies but also worldwide social, financial and commercial disruption. Are our findings about the in-house profession still valid in such a challenging and changing environment?

We believe they are. Our firm began its programme of GC reports during the global financial crisis. Such crises accelerate and change the way we view things. The global financial crisis boosted the status and value of many GCs, helping them achieve the ambitions we discussed. By helping their businesses navigate troubled times, with new requirements in areas such as compliance, they became more influential.

In the present crisis we will see other GCs experience a similar change, as their companies focus on survival, risk and sustainability in the ‘new normal’. Our research shows that Latin American GCs are ready to seize such opportunities, to prove their worth and to grow and develop their roles.

In some respects, this report offers a snapshot of life before Covid-19. But in other ways it’s a vision for the future. The direction of travel for GCs – towards becoming genuinely strategic business counsel – remains the same, even if some details change. If the crisis accelerates pre-existing trends, they will be trends that GCs had already recognised.

We believe this is the first study of its kind in Latin America.

We hope that you will find it useful and thoughtprovoking, even – or perhaps even more – in these difficult times.

We would also like to thank the many contributors across CMS for their support with preparing this report. It is not possible to mention all of those who have made significant contributions by name.

However, we would like to give particular thanks to Adam Beach, Madalena Houlihan, Jonathan Fenton, Catherine McGregor and Mary Hoover, for their considerable efforts in assisting us.

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Key findings

Ethics and compliance are now more essential issues for many GCs than their more traditional responsibilities for common commercial matters.

A massive 85% of GCs believe they would be better at their current roles if they developed their skills as influencers.

Two-thirds of the GCs we surveyed already use key performance indicators or other performance measurement systems to help them run their teams, and others aim to introduce such systems soon.

Over 60% of GCs have changed their recruitment practices to include non-lawyers or temporary staffing solutions.

Most GCs do not see themselves as being very innovative.

About one GC in five has ambitions to join the c-suite, with many attracted to the CEO role. Only about two-thirds wish to spend their whole careers as GCs.

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CMS - The Latin American GC rising to the challenge
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Contact us

We would be delighted to hear any comments you may have about our study and to discuss it with you.

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Key contacts

Luis Felipe Arze
Luis Felipe Arze, LL.M
T +56 22 48520 73
Jonathan Warne
Jonathan Warne
T +65 6422 2819

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