Corporate legal departments expect outside counsel to increase their rates next year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready or willing to pay more.

In-house lawyers and consultants who help budget company legal spending say some law firms already have approached them with higher rates and fees this year, a turn of events that is hardly surprising, the lawyers and consultants said, since law firms typically raise rates in the year after a recession, when many companies temporarily freeze what they were willing to pay for legal services.

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