Cost containment and compliance will be the watchwords for corporate counsel in 2013, a new survey suggests. Twenty-six percent of lawyers identified compliance and regulatory issues as their legal department’s greatest business challenge in the coming year. An equal percentage ranked the ability to control outside counsel costs as their top concern.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing firm specializing in lawyers, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 175 lawyers employed at companies in the United States and Canada with 1,000 or more employees. All of the respondents have hiring authority within their organizations.
Lawyers were asked, “Which of the following, if any, will be your legal department’s single greatest business challenge in 2013?”
Compliance or regulatory issues 26%
Controlling outside counsel costs 26%
Greater workloads 20%
Budget reductions 12%
Litigation or e-discovery matters 7%
Employment issues (e.g., hiring, retention) 6%
Other/don’t know 4%
*Total does not equal 100 percent due to rounding.
“The ability to manage increased workloads related to compliance, regulation and litigation, while containing costs remains a key challenge for many corporate legal departments,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “General counsel are carefully evaluating the projects they’re assigning to outside firms, as well as fee arrangements, in an effort to control spending.”
Volkert noted that legal departments are hiring experienced lawyers, compliance administrators and contract managers on a full-time and interim basis to handle more legal projects in-house, as well as looking for third-party vendors to provide support.
“Service providers that can work with internal teams and outside counsel on large-scale litigation and e-discovery matters often are able to save clients time and money,” he said.
Robert Half Legal is the legal staffing division of Robert Half International. The company provides law firms and corporate legal departments with highly skilled professionals, including lawyers, paralegals and legal support personnel, on a project and full-time basis. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal also offers managed review and e-discovery services.