Risk in Real Life

Challenges facing General Counsel in Australia

Legal professionals, and the businesses they advise, are living through a time of monumental disruption. Various types of business risks are converging across different areas of operation, resulting in an increasingly complex situation to manage. With the constant barrage of change affecting businesses, the role of General Counsel has evolved into one that needs to deal with profound complexity across new and emerging risks. The responsibility of managing these challenges has become increasingly formidable, and can leave even seasoned professionals feeling overwhelmed.

To better understand the challenges and insights faced by legal teams when it comes to managing risk, we surveyed a broad range of legal professionals within companies delivering risk management outcomes across Australia.

Unsurprisingly, the research shows that across the board, legal teams are under pressure. They are concerned about rising instances of new and emerging risks, including environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), cyber, psychological risk, digitisation and data governance, and financial crime. At the same time, in-house legal teams face significant organisational barriers in terms of their ability to influence company-wide risk management and expanding potential for systemic negative consequences when risk is not appropriately managed.

We are pleased to share with you our insights in our inaugural Ashurst Risk Advisory report Risk in Real Life.

Our report aims to help you, your Executive and Board to be on the front foot for what is unfolding – and to take time to fully consider how to tap into the right expertise at the right time.

Together, we can confront the challenges to create a stronger and more collaborative risk posture that is well-prepared to safeguard your organisation.

Solving the risk  accountability matrix report cover image

“Our aim is to equip in-house legal teams with the strategies they need to address risk appropriately by helping them understand the legal requirements and then together we design, implement and embed effective risk management strategies, including using technology, to help drive better collaboration on risk practices across their organisations.”

Philip Hardy, Partner, Head of Risk Advisory, Australia

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Risk in Real Life: Challenges facing General Counsel in Australia

PDF 1.23 MB


Ashurst Risk Advisory Pty Ltd (ABN 74 996 309 133) is part of the Ashurst Group. The services provided by Ashurst Risk Advisory Pty Ltd do not constitute legal services or legal advice, and are not provided by Australian legal practitioners acting in that capacity. The laws and regulations which govern the provision of legal services in the relevant jurisdiction do not apply to the provision of non-legal services. For more information about the Ashurst Group, which Ashurst Group entity operates in a particular country and the services offered, please visit

This material is current as at 13 September 2023 but does not take into account any developments after that date. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to, and does not constitute professional advice. The information provided is general in nature, and does not take into account and is not intended to apply to any specific issues or circumstances. Readers should take independent advice. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from Ashurst. While we use reasonable skill and care in the preparation of this material, we accept no liability for use of and reliance upon it by any person.