At present, the most universal priority for law departments is “controlling outside counsel costs” per 85% of respondents to the most recent TR Legal Department Operations Index.
I understand. I also doubt the marginal utility of simply pressing harder on the traditional levers of cost control (discounts, panels, RFPs, outside counsel guidelines, AFAs). My sometimes solicited, alternative advice:
- Package work. Identify opportunities to enter portfolio arrangements, including integrated law relationships with New Law offerings.
- Move work. Right source, including greater use of legal marketplaces to find the right talent at the right price.
- Re-examine costs on autopilot. Major advances in ediscovery, ADR, court reporting, staffing, etc. present substantial, immediate spend-optimization opportunities.
- Don’t stop investing in compliance by design. Embedding legal knowledge in business processes is the only viable, long-term approach to meeting the evolving legal needs of business in an increasingly complex operating environment.
If you want to discuss, call me, maybe.
Herein, however, I am not focused on being better. Rather, we will continue our exploration of avoiding worse. The unpalatable message remains that even when something must be done, doing nothing is superior to doing the wrong thing. Running in the wrong direction cannot be course corrected solely by redoubling our efforts.
Continue Reading Trust Fall: the limits of discounts, panels, billing guidelines, etc.