As the financial downturn grew in intensity through 2008, a number of high-profile general counsel took proactive steps in response. ITV general counsel Andrew Garard, for example, banished the billable hour on completion of his panel review in November, and James Blendis, legal chief of T-Mobile, entered into a round of frank discussions with the company’s legal advisers in a bid to drive down costs.

Earlier in the year, Tyco’s much-heralded contract with Eversheds, which ushered in detailed billing transparency and widespread use of fixed fees, attracted much attention as evidence of clients taking control of legal services procurement.