Victoria Blake, Zapproved: Three Ways Legal Ops Can Help Control Outside Spend

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Extract from Victoria Blake’s article “Three Ways Legal Ops Can Help Control Outside Spend”

Corporate legal teams’ outside counsel spend has increased roughly 5% in 2021, with the average corporate legal spend hovering right around 50% of legal department budgets. Smaller companies are tending to spend more externally than larger companies, while larger companies are funding internal headcount growth to do more of their work in house.

At the same time, the role of legal operations continues to standardize and mature, becoming a key driver of controlling outside spend, keeping quality high, and charting a path to a more effective (and efficient) future.

  1. Establish law firm performance reviews:

Only around 30% of legal departments currently do some sort of performance review of their firms, with another 47% who WANT to create a formalized review process, but haven’t done so yet. With firms representing 50% of a legal department’s spend, on average, a review is one of the best ways to manage and control that spend. Just like an employee is evaluated for the quality of their work, a firm should be, too. It’s the whole “you get what you inspect, not what you expect” dynamic.

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