Forecast for Legal Services - Corporations Have Cut Legal Spending

Lauren Chung, law firm marketing, legal marketingCorporate law departments were asked to forecast their demand for legal services across 28 different legal practice areas in a new survey. Among these, regulatory was the highest, with 44 percent of participants expecting an increase in demand in this area. Other areas with significant forecasted increases in demand include employment and labor (39 percent), government relations (35 percent) and international (35 percent).

What was surprising was that for the first time in ten years, law departments have reduced their total legal spending, according to the Hildebrandt Baker Robbins 2010 Law Department Survey. Much of that reduction involves use of outside counsel. More than 60 percent of survey participants decreased their spending on outside counsel; at the same time, internal legal spending and staffing increased slightly.

“We expect that efforts to reduce spending will continue, particularly with outside counsel spending, which makes up nearly 60 percent of total legal spending,” said Lauren Chung, survey editor. “The challenge for law departments will be to move beyond the low-hanging fruit and develop more comprehensive and innovative strategies for managing not just legal costs, but also legal risks and services.”

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