Changing with the Times: Corporate Counsel

Changing with the Times: Corporate Counsel

As we’ve posted and written in the past, counsel has had to change to keep up with the changing legal industry. A recent report featured in Bloomberg identifies the specific ways that in-house counsel’s role has evolved.

Once hardly considered the driver of innovation and efficiency, the in-house legal department is now part of a corporation’s overall business goals and strategy.

“[M]any companies are running their legal department like a growing business, rather than a budget-draining necessity.”

Innovation and disruption are affecting the way corporations evaluate how their legal departments do business and buy services.

Corporations are also evaluating how legal departments are managing their workloads. The report states that because it’s easy for in-house teams to lose track of work, departments are hiring business or project managers. The aim is to increase efficiency and more effectively allocate valuable resources.

“Additionally, the use of regular status reports and budget updates allows in-house counsel to stay up to date on changes in scope and cost overruns.”

Inside counsel is also reevaluating their relationships with outside counsel. In particular, says the report, through negotiating better pricing terms with firms, reducing the number of firms they work with and creating competition among firms by implementing more procurement processes.

In addition to working with the lower-cost ALSPs, departments are also opting to move some work in-house.

Finally, departments are embracing technology. (Check out the 10 Legal Trends to Watch for in 2018.) While the legal industry has lagged behind in technology and innovation, the emergence of AI and Blockchain have increased interest and implementation. For example, technology offers solutions for compliance, e-discovery, contract review, legal research and legal operations.

Just as the legal industry will continue to evolve, so, too, will the legal department and corporate counsel. Stay tuned.

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