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New survey outlines how corporate law departments are cutting costs

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Chief legal officers have turned to negotiating price reductions with outside counsel, doing more work in house, and greater use of technology in efforts to control costs, according to a survey released Wednesday by legal management consulting firm Altman Weil Inc.

More than three-fourths of chief legal officers have negotiated price reductions from outside counsel, with almost half receiving an average reduction of between 6 and 10 percent. Close to 20 percent negotiated discounts between 11 and 15 percent.

But CLOs don’t just want the most services possible for the least amount of money. The majority of respondents preferred transparent pricing or guaranteed pricing. Only about 10 percent said they wanted the lowest price available.

Many corporate law departments plan on adding more staff in the next year; 42 percent report they plan to add in-house lawyers. Nearly 30 percent also plan on decreasing their use of outside counsel.

But in-house attorneys aren’t immune to the negative effects of the cost-control measures. Respondents plan on shifting in-house work from lawyers to paraprofessionals, using contract lawyers and technology tools to increase efficiency, and outsourcing to non-law firm vendors.

The survey also shows that CLOs have little hope that law firms will change their services to better meet the needs and demands of corporate law departments. For the fifth straight year, the survey asked CLOs to rate how serious law firms are about changing their legal service delivery model to provide greater value – and for the fifth year, the median rating was “3” on a scale of 0 (not at all serious) to 10 (doing everything they can).

Another interesting result from the survey: Two-thirds of respondents think chief legal officers have more difficult jobs as compared to managing partners.

Of the 1,269 corporate law departments invited to participate, 207 responded to the 2013 survey.  Altman Weil has compiled this survey since 2000.

The complete survey is available on Altman Weil’s website.
 

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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