It’s about time: Legal department cuts are

General counsel and chief legal officers around the world are sharing a bond of pain and a world of hurt from recession-driven pressures to “reduce your total legal spend.” Following a decade where legal costs had increased by 75% while general corporate operating expenses had increased by only 20%, the message from management is clear: your legal department is not immune from the consequences of the global economic slump, so deliver on cost-containment or your job is at risk.

In a 2010 Eversheds’ survey report, The Clients’ Revolution, 90% of general counsel reported intense internal pressure from their financial managers to provide better value, efficiency and cost reductions. Arguments to senior management about the unpredictability of legal costs, particularly litigation expense, fall on deaf ears. No more fluid legal department budgets, no more automatic 15% legal budget increases every fiscal year. US legal budgets took a major hit in 2009, declining an average of almost 12% when surveyed at the end of Q1 and dropping further thereafter. Our conversations with European and Latin American general counsel tell us that this sobering reduction is not just a US phenomenon.

Woldow, P. 2010, "It’s about time: Legal department cuts are". In: European GC, United Kingdom.



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