Legal Work Is an Inside Job Now

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 07, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you felt the ground shifting, it was not an earthquake. That was the playing field changing law practice.

According to a new report, more than half of the legal work at companies is being done in house. That's bad news for outside counsel.

On the other hand, that is good news for general counsel, legal operators, and others who are rolling with the changes.

Benchmark Report

It may be no surprise to outside counsel, who have seen corporate clients take more legal work internally in recent years. Exterro, an ediscovery and legal software provider, says the balance between outside and inside work has shifted.

"Moving legal services in-house is no longer just a trend for organizations -- it's becoming the norm," the company reports in its 2017 In-House Benchmarking Report.

The report also says to expect an increase in legal project management technology. With more internal communications, Exterro also projects a decrease in email useage.

"Generally, corporations are satisfied with the quality of work done internally, more so than with the work done by outsiders," it claims.

It's the Cost

As companies invest in technologies, especially data analytics and artificial intelligence, they are finding more cost-effective ways to handle legal needs. In the Exterro report, corporations said they kept in-house 69 percent of legal holds and 56 percent of preservation and collection of data.

Overall, corporate legal spend is way down. Last year, it dropped by 11% on average. According to Bloomberg and the Buying Legal Council, the most successful teams cut spending by nearly a quarter.

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