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5 Strategies for a More Cost-Effective Legal DepartmentAccording to a new analysis by the CEB, there are some simple ways for legal departments to cut costs and provide more efficient services.
Corporate Counsel2013-02-20 01:24:12 PM
Ever have a sneaking suspicion that other legal departments know something you dont about how to save on costs? Well, maybe they do. But you dont have to be out of the loop, according to a new analysis by CEB.
1. Perform more work in-house
Yes, its true: to save money, try doing more in the legal departmentas opposed to outside of the department. At most companies surveyed, legal departments devote about 60 percent of their spend to outside counsel. But, says Ganguli, the most cost-effective department can get that number down to 40 percent. So start thinking about a 60 (in-house)/40 (outside counsel) split.
2. Use non-lawyer professionals more often
CEB finds that 42 percent of survey respondents employ at least one non-lawyer professional for every two in-house lawyers. Those personnel can free up an in-house attorneys time and keep a law department from having to outsource certain tasks to (more expensive) outside counsel.
3. Invest in legal operations capabilities
More and more, CEB is seeing people with titles like business manager and chief legal administrative officer showing up in law departments (especially large law departments). Whatever the title, they are responsible on a day-to-day basis for the management of that department, says Ganguli, adding: We often think of them as the key chief of staff of the GC.
4. Invest selectively in legal technologies
More than 90 percent of law departments use some type of legal technology, like document review or e-billing, according to CEBs data. But where in-house attorneys tend to become dissatisfied is in actually putting those technologies to work for them. They have a tough time in the implementation, according to Ganguli.
5. Unbundle legal services
Do you really need to pay a law firm for services like photocopying and research? These are areas where there are more cost-efficient alternative providers, says Ganguli.