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Companies shift legal spending in-house as more embrace ‘in-sourcing’
Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal
Companies are increasingly shifting legal spending in-house, according to a new analysis.
This year companies are redirecting an estimated $1.1 billion of legal spending from outside law firms to in-house legal departments, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing an analysis by BTI Consulting Group Inc. The shift was at its peak in 2012, when $5.8 billion in legal spending was shifted in-house.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to join Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manager your finances in a free webinar.
Managing the cost of doing legal business
Paul Mandell, InsideCounsel
Creating and managing a legal budget is among the most vexing tasks handled by a general counsel. As lawyers, we are rarely trained to serve any sort of financial function, and few legal departments have their own internal finance staff. However, a legal budget is a must for any sophisticated legal team. Accurately preparing your business for the costs associated with legal work takes time and careful consideration, and doing so through the development of a budget is a critical part of professional legal-department management. Over the last few months, I have had a chance to speak to a number of general counsel and those who advise them regarding best practices for the in-house law department budgeting process. A few tips gleaned from those discussions are set forth below:
In-House Counsel Need to Get Smart(er) About Tech
Dan Currell, Corporate Counsel
Maybe it’s time for in-house lawyers to ditch all the technology and dust off their fountain pens.
Our company, CEB, recently ran a full-scale study of in-house legal technology, interviewing corporate counsel and surveying 117 companies on the implementation and performance of their six most common technology systems (contract management, document management, e-billing, e-discovery, IP management and matter management). The study assessed such things as cost, efficiency and quality. We also asked corporate counsel about the biggest risks to successful implementation–and since a truly successful implementation is so hard, those risks are awfully important.
The brainchild of Casey Flaherty, an attorney at Kia Motors, the Legal Tech Audit is designed to help in-house and firms alike understand the technology prowess of their team or partners. The LTA assesses how well timekeepers and staff use basic law practice technology, such as word processing and spreadsheets. The information provided by the LTA can be used in many ways. For example, law firms may want to use the results as part of annual reviews or as a way to incentivize technological efficiency and lower costs. Strong results can be marketed to clients and improve a law firm’s bottom line. Clients may want to use the information when selecting law firms for particular types of legal work or when negotiating appropriate hourly rates.
The LTA will be available to registered takers September 2nd. Clients can request scores of their outside timekeepers October 31st.
Learn more at LegalTechAudit.com.
The Myth of More Time for Billing
Sam Glover, Lawyerist
As a lawyer, time is your most-valuable asset whether you spend it billing time or completing flat-fee tasks. So it makes sense to free up as much of your time for doing more billing, right?
Well, it depends.