Updates and advice for attorneys and law departments.

Trends in Legal: Law Departments Turn To Legal Support Services to Reduce Excessive Fees

“Outsourcing” is a well-known business term, and one that has gotten extra use in the recent economic recession.  In-house legal departments have also begun to tap into the benefits of outsourcing by turning to external legal support services for tasks like transcribing, document review, and even joint defense litigation.

By using external legal support services, in-house legal departments can strike a balance between efficiency and cost, increasing the first while minimizing the second.  Innovative uses of legal support services in recent months have included employing legal process outsourcing (LPO) partners to tackle high-volume legal matters – especially those that involve a great deal of document review or other high-volume, low-strategy work.  Using outsourcing in this matter allows in-house legal departments to focus their own talent on the complex, strategic matters that form the heart of so much corporate litigation.

Most corporate legal departments start their spending-reduction strategy by focusing on such high-volume work.  However, in recent years, some legal departments have included the use of value-based fee structures in class action and joint defendant cases as well.  For example, in-house law departments may decide to pool their resources in joint defense litigation, sharing costs while still bringing their full weight of expertise to bear on the matter.  Using cutting-edge technology tools also improved cost control by offering the analytics in-house counsel needed to make effective decisions about where and how to address cost matters.

Finding a balance between in-house and outsourced work, and assigning the right types of work to each group, is key to maximizing the value of legal support services, according to a recent article by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).  Top-performing legal departments in this area found that, by striking the right balance, they could move 50 to 80 percent of their outside-counsel arrangements to a value-based fee model.  This model allowed the departments to control costs without sacrificing quality.  With a value-based fee model, many departments have found they can pursue litigation with fewer costs.  In some cases, litigation proved even less costly than settlement.

At Assigned Counsel, our experienced staffing partners focus on your legal department’s specific needs and goals in order to find the top talent you need.  Contact us today.

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