Posted by: johnocunningham | November 17, 2012

Recent Survey Highlights Growing Reliance on In-house Counsel

As previously cited on this blog, the great majority of companies are bringing more legal work in-house, and roughly half are increasing staff to do it. Now, there are published reports from reliable sources that there is also an upward trend in compensation for in-house lawyers. (See: “HBR Survey Sees Upward Trend for In-House Lawyer Compensation” at Law.com).

This is all occurring while revenues at large law firms are flat, and revenues at global firms are even shrinking slightly, despite an explosion of new laws and regulations in recent years.

While the average budgeted salary increase in the U.S. was just 3.0 percent in 2012, according to Culpepper Compensation Surveys, Chief Legal Officers raked in more than 5.0 percent in raises (on average) and their in-house support pulled in an average of 3.4 percent, according to the HBR Survey.

Overall, the picture is clear: Corporate clients are placing more reliance on their in-house legal departments and rewarding them for taking on added responsiblity. Meanwhile, outside counsel are scrambling for work in an increasingly competitive legal environment. Law firms need to sharpen their efficiency, as well as their focus on value, and they have to communicate to clients and prospects what they are doing to improve on service and value.

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