Posted by: johnocunningham | December 21, 2015

Survey Reveals Chief Legal Officer Concerns

The 2015 Chief Legal Officer Survey by the consulting firm, Altman Weil, is well worth reading for those lawyers in private practice who must deal with Chief Legal Officers and General Counsel, as it covers a wide array of topics related to budgets, management and service concerns of corporate clients.

Based on the feedback received from 258 respondents to the survey, the greatest concern that CLOs face today is from continual internal and external downward cost pressures.

A few of the other responses that I found to be particularly revealing were as follows:

  • More than 76 percent will put a lid on outside counsel budgets this coming year or even reduce outside counsel spending, with roughly 40 percent planning to reduce outside counsel spending, and 37 percent planning to hold the line compared to last year.
  • Roughly 76 percent of those who plan to cut outside counsel spending will move more legal work in-house (those salary wars for first year associates prior to the economic crash were what spurred much of this growing movement, based on my own discussions with in-house lawyers).
  • Close to 60 percent are now using fixed fee or alternative fee arrangements to hold down spending.

It is also interesting to note what the biggest complaints were with regard to service delivery, in part consisting of:

  • About 40 percent wanting more efficient project management from outside counsel, and
  • Nearly one-third seeing a need for much less “over-lawyering” of matters assigned to counsel.

Those who serve corporate clients and those who assist in marketing legal services rendered by private practitioners should read the entire Altman Weil survey for a more complete look inside the minds of CLOs.

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