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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. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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