When legal departments are looking to hire outside law firms, cost is key, and bigger isn’t always better, according to a new survey that shows roughly a third of chief legal officers are shifting outside legal work to smaller firms with lower rates.

This year, 31 percent of CLOs reported that they’d moved outside work to firms with lower billing rates while also noting that they are “successfully using smaller law firms that offer quality work and service at considerable reductions in cost,” according to Altman Weil Inc.’s 2018 Chief Legal Officer Survey. That finding is similar to last year’s study, which showed that 33 percent of CLOs had shifted outside work to lower-priced firms.

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