The latest Altman Weil Survey of law department leaders re-emphasizes a number of things that we’ve been seeing and talking about in the market. The theme of our most recent white paper was “to make legal the best-run department in the organization,” and the survey results show some of the ways CLOs are attempting to do just that.
Respondents indicate that cost control is key, as we’ve observed, but what is interesting is the finding that rather than getting the lowest price possible, ‘transparent pricing’ is actually more important. CLOs want to be predictable and reliable in their outside costs, and the best ways to do that is to fully understand what you are paying for and why, along with having the appropriate spend management processes and tools in place.
We’ve also talked extensively about a shift occurring in the market towards bringing more work in-house. 42% of CLOs plan to add internal staff and 29% plan to actually decrease their reliance on outside counsel, which truly reaffirms that this shift is real. In conjunction, nearly 60% of respondents indicate that they are relying more on technology to maximize staff efficiency in delivering legal services, with matter management and e-Billing topping the list. These responses indicate that CLOs feel that the best way to transform the legal department is to take matters into their own hands.
Overall, these are interesting findings on the state of the corporate legal department today. I encourage you to take a full look at the results. Clearly, CLOs want to lead the charge, increasing the value of the legal team to the organization in order to deliver the highest quality services and help the business realize its goals.