We rode the A train up to the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South (jackets required, men!) Wednesday to listen to a panel of outsourcing experts and in-house counsel discuss the future of the big firm/in-house relationship and various methods general counsel should be using to cut costs. And we imagine that if we were a law student hoping to head to a big firm or a partner at that firm, we would not have been thrilled with what we heard. The message was clear: In-house counsel are going to save money, and they are going to try and do it by any means possible.

That includes sending more work to legal outsourcing providers. Panelists from CPA Global, one leading outsourcer, made it clear that they believe in-house lawyers should send more work their way instead of to large law firms. Brandon Daniels, a vice president at CPA, says in-house lawyers are spending too much even when they farm out a motion for summary judgment to one of their firms at a flat fee. Daniels says the work that goes into crafting and defending such a motion can be broken into distinct chunks, and that some of those chunks — such as researching precedent and other document review — can be done (perhaps in India) through an outsourcing agency like his. Once those lawyers finish their work, they can hand the matter off to a local attorney in whatever jurisdiction is hearing the case. “We can carve up this piece of work,” Daniels says of his hypothetical motion for summary judgment. “You may not need a sixth-year associate charging $300 per hour” for research when you can find “a resourceful paralegal at $60 per hour.”

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