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In-House Counsel Look to Rein In Legal Spending
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A study from Robert Half Legal reveals 25 percent of in-house counsel surveyed plan to decrease its work with outside firms in the next 12 months and 61 percent expect there to be no change.

The report, Delivering Maximum Value in a Cost Conscious Legal Area, notes reducing outside legal spending has become a top priority for in-house counsel with the most recent economic crisis. Only 10 percent of respondents expected to increase work given to outside firms.

As a result of this changing relationship, law firms have begun to rethink how it delivers services in order to put it better in line with what corporate clients are willing to spend, the report notes.

  
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The poll found 22 percent of lawyers said the greatest challenge for their firms is dealing with increased competition for business and 19 percent cited meeting revenue goals. To help increase value to clients, according to the report, many firms have been replacing traditional operating methods, such as billable hour and lockstep compensation, with flexible fee arrangements and performance-based compensation.

The report was made through Robert Half Legal’s tenth annual Future Law Office project. Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal, described the changes taking place.

“Among all the trends we have identified in our Future Law Office research, the increasing need for law offices to provide more value-added and cost-effective legal services is the most prominent,” Volkert said “Legal departments are being pressured to reduce their spending on outside counsel and boost efficiency. In response, law firms are revamping their legal services delivery processes to retain clients and improve profitability.”

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