In-house legal teams are spending more on internal budgets than on external legal service providers.
According to the ACC Chief Legal Officers 2016 Survey, smaller budgets and the evolving role of legal teams is not only leading to an increase in the size of legal teams, but is also leading GCs to seek a range of non-legal skills in their team.
Project management skills were among the highly sought after non-legal skills among legal teams. ACC president and managing director Tanya Khan said that we are likely to see an increase in the number of in-house teams hiring operations staff too.
“Legal operations staff can investigate and manage resourcing, reducing costs, investing in new technologies including work flow and their focus is to have the department operating in the most effective way to add maximum value to an organisation,” she told Australasian Lawyer.
“The survey states that 14 per cent of CLOs globally significantly increase the number of in-house lawyers in 2015. And so at the same time, CLOs are also investing resources to upskill their team in both legal and non-legal skills.”
She said while it’s a relatively new concept in Australia, around a third of US legal departments employ legal operations staff and she expects the Aussie market to follow suit in coming years.
The increase on internal spend she said correlates with the increase in the size of in-house legal teams, but firms shouldn’t be too concerned about losing work to growing teams just yet.
“The growth of in-house legal teams and the outsourcing to external legal firms are not necessarily related,” Khan said.
“Sixty-one per cent of CLOs predicted that the work they outsource to remain the same in the coming 12 months and the report shows the high risk areas such as complex litigation are the most common type of work to be outsourced whereas the more low level work such as contract management is more commonly insourced.”