Workloads Are Increasing. Is Your Legal Department Keeping Up?

by | May 8, 2019

According to Altman Weil’s 2018 Chief Legal Officer Survey, corporate legal departments are spending more on internal expenditures than on outside counsel for the first time in the history of this survey, with 48% allocated to in-house spend, 45% to outside counsel, and 6% to other non-law firm vendors.

Why is that change so significant? Because it shows that the work demands for legal departments are significantly increasing. At the same time, general counsel (GCs) are under pressure to run their departments like any other business unit and perform at more efficient and cost-effective levels. To achieve this, GCs are starting to take a more holistic approach to tracking and managing all the work performed by the legal department.

Go Beyond Matters

There’s so much information flowing in and out of the department that goes without being formally promoted to a “legal matter,” including:

  • Advice
  • Inquiries
  • Requests
  • General questions

To start, GCs are looking for comprehensive visibility into all the work performed by the department so that they are in a better position to measure and demonstrate the value they consistently deliver.

Rethink Workflows

Keeping work in-house allows legal departments to handle more work and respond to a greater workload, while saving money on external counsel costs. However, with workloads increasing, in-house legal teams are reconsidering who actually does the work. More legal departments are utilizing paralegals and contract attorneys for routine tasks to free up staff attorney time for more complex and strategic projects. With this expanded roster it is even more critical to understand what work is being done by whom.

Demonstrate the Value of the Legal Department

Legal departments are consistently adding value to the overall business, but how do you meaningfully tell that story? Ultimately, GCs need one source where they can centrally manage internal work product and matters, relations with outside counsel, and total legal spend. Having all this information in one location allows GCs to leverage that data to identify key metrics, monitor trends, and generate regular reports to provide insight and inform decision-making.

Leverage Technology

To successfully collect, organize, track, audit, and report on all of this information, you need the right tools in place. In fact, according to the 2018 Altman Weil survey 67% of law departments reported increasing their use of technology to help with this new shift in managing their work.

CounselLink® from LexisNexis® was designed for this exact purpose—one system that gives you visibility and access to all work and data, a holistic view that allows you to more efficiently and cost effectively manage your department. Something that’s necessary with increased workloads and higher expectations to prove the legal department’s overall value to the business.

Attending CLOC 2019?

Join us for a special session on Wednesday, May 15 at 11:35 am in Monet 3 & 4. We’ll be announcing new CounselLink features and talking to Travelers and Northwestern Mutual on their approach to managing their legal departments’ workload.

Looking for other ways to connect with CounselLink while at CLOC? Request a meeting with CounselLink experts and learn how you can go beyond just managing matters. Stop by Booth #3 or join us on Wednesday, May 15 at 6:00 pm for Cocktails with CounselLink in the Lily Lounge. RSVP today. We can’t wait to see you in Vegas!

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Bill Medlock
Bill Medlock

Bill Medlock is the Vice President of Enterprise Field Sales for LexisNexis CounselLink, an industry leading Enterprise Legal Management SaaS application. Responsible for new business acquisition, growth, and retention of CounselLink’s customer portfolio, Bill leads an accomplished team of sales, account management, and solution architects dedicated to helping corporate legal teams secure better data-driven results, run their businesses more effectively, and demonstrate their continued value to the broader organization.
A recovering lawyer, Bill has spent the better part of his career focusing on strategic sales leadership and ensuring successful customer experiences in the human capital and legal technology markets. Bill holds a B.A. in History from the University of Denver and a J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law. When not working, Bill enjoys spending time with his Irish Setters who remind him to be playful, make new friends, and get off the couch to enjoy the beauty of living in Colorado.

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