At the Legal Marketing Association annual meeting last month in LA, the chairperson and the general counsel of the Association of Corporate Counsel, along with two other members on their panel, let law firm marketers know how they felt about the increasing rates and associated legal costs of outside counsel.
According to a post by Mark Beese on his Leadership for Lawyers blog entitled “We’re Not Going to Take It,” the ACC reps laid out the realities in-house counsel are facing, specifically:
- Pressure to contain and predict legal costs,
- Frustration with double-digit rate increases,
- Off-the-scale associate salaries (and corresponding hourly rates); and
- Perceived unwillingness by law firms:
- to discuss alternative fee arrangements, and
- create lower cost methods for commodity work.
So, what’s my point? Talk to the in-house counsel you know about your fee structures, and willingness to discuss alternatives to the traditional hourly rate. There’s a lot of work out there for medium-sized and smaller law firms because of their lower fee structure and flexibility.
If large firms aren’t yet fearful as to how serious corporate counsel are about finding solutions to these pressure points, they will be soon enough. And just think how you can help them along by picking up more of their corporate work in the meantime.