That’s one of the notable findings in a survey published on Monday – nearly two-thirds of corporate counsel are bringing in work to reduce costs.
The report, The State of Collaboration in Corporate Legal Departments, which was published by Everlaw in partnership with the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) was unveiled at the ACC 2023 Annual Meeting (which is happening this week in San Antonio) on Monday. Respondents included 373 chief legal officers, general counsel, other in-house counsel and legal operations professionals from U.S. corporate law departments.
According to their news release, key findings include:
In facing budgetary constraints, in-house teams will look to cut costs in the next year:
- Nearly two-thirds of corporate counsel (66%) will bring work in house to reduce costs, compared to 59% in 2022.
- 39% say they will shift work from big firms to smaller firms.
- 33% look to technology/AI to control costs – up from 12% last year.
In-house teams look to do more with less regarding their outside counsel:
- Outside counsel need to raise their game around costs, with only 42% of in-house legal professionals saying they’re happy with cost transparency and just 38% with cost predictability.
- One in four say they’ll cut the number of law firms they work with during the next year, with the top reason overwhelmingly being (79%) to increase cost effectiveness.
- While only 41% say they’ve always felt comfortable requiring their law firms to use modern technology for better efficiency, 68% say they’ve at least sometimes felt comfortable doing so.
The desire to collaborate within the corporation exists but legal teams face obstacles:
- 70% say the top goal is to be better aligned with other business departments across the company; those in other business units still often say that legal slows down projects (58%) and is overly risk averse (41%).
- Nearly half (47%) say they get engaged after strategic decisions have been made, limiting their ability to provide strategic advice.
- While 33% say they need new technology to centralize data and collaborate more efficiently, 71% cite a lack of bandwidth for process improvements as the main obstacle to stronger collaboration within their organization.
The 32-page report, available here, is chock-full of stats and results to questions about internal and external collaboration, as well as technology utilization and needs. Check it out!
The fact that nearly two-thirds of corporate counsel are bringing in work to reduce costs may be a wake up call to outside counsel and vendors. If not, it should be.
Speaking of surveys, the 2024 eDiscovery Today State of the Industry survey is underway! Please consider participating – it literally takes 1-2 minutes, and you’ll get a free copy of the report when it’s published in January! Here’s the link to participate!
So, what do you think? Are you surprised by any of the results? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
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