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Corporate legal departments face more work, cost controls

Eric C. Ruud  Managing Director, Legal Enterprise Solutions

Eric C. Ruud  Managing Director, Legal Enterprise Solutions

Corporate legal departments – faced with a growing volume of work – are increasing their operations staffs, technology spending, and use of outside counsel.

That’s the picture painted by Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker LDO Index, a new semi-annual report based on anonymized data from over 1,000 corporate legal departments.

Corporate legal departments are rapidly evolving how they manage their legal spend, becoming much more pro-active and sophisticated in their strategies. The entire legal ecosystem is evolving rapidly as organizations face greater pressure to increase efficiency and maximize cost-effectiveness.

Many legal departments are now optimizing their spend by employing a variety of approaches, including greater focus on legal operations, effective cost controls on outside counsel, and more use of technology.

Highlights from the Legal Tracker LDO Index:

  • 62% of corporate legal departments report that the number of legal matters they manage has increased in the last six months.
  • 52% increased the percentage of work handled in-house in the last six months, while 28% increased in-house staff during the same time period.
  • 45% increased use of outside counsel in the last six months, while 33% reported a decrease.
  • 51% have dedicated legal operations staff. Among largest firms, it’s more than 90%.
  • 13% increased legal operations staff in the last six months, while 6% decreased staff.
  • 18% increased spending on technology, while 12% spent less.

The report separately surveyed 161 legal departments on their use of cost controls. Their most-effective steps were auto-reduction of invoice expenses, required legal matter budgets from outside firms, fixed or flat fees for legal matters, and volume discounts.

We will continue to track these trends to unearth insights that help legal departments better understand how they and their peers are managing in an increasingly challenging environment.

Learn more

View the Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker LDO Index report.


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