DENVER — The tough economy may have been the right catalyst to get in-house legal departments thinking harder about how to control costs and bring more value, according to results of the Association of Corporate Counsel 2011 chief legal officer survey.
This year just half of the respondents to the ACC annual survey indicated the downturn in the economy affected their legal departments, a 20-per-cent decrease from 2009. Of those surveyed, 54 per cent said they experienced effects from the economic downtown, down significantly from the 74 per cent reported in 2009. Of those who answered, 76 per cent said the recession caused more work for their departments compared to 51 per cent in 2009.
To combat the increased workload, inside counsel are taking action — two-thirds of respondents said they are implementing practices to create cost/time efficiencies and/or generate value for their department, either through alternative fee arrangements, increased use of paralegals, contract lawyers or other staff, contract management systems, mandatory budgeting/early case assessment, and other means.