Mark Smolik, general counsel and chief compliance officer at DHL Supply Chain Americas, says the average cost of a senior member of his in-house legal team is $174 an hour. Thus, his message to hundreds of legal marketing professionals gathered Wednesday in Atlanta for their annual conference was loud and clear: “I can’t afford to pay you $800 an hour.”

Dubbed “An Inside View: General Counsel Perspectives on the Use of Alternative Legal Service Providers and Artificial Intelligence,” the panel discussion featuring Smolik and other top in-house lawyers was a plea to law firms to remain relevant amid the trend of more work becoming commoditized and going in-house. Corporate Counsel parent company ALM Media sponsored the panel, which was moderated by Richard Caruso, ALM Media vice president and general manager for legal media.

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