According to general counsel Paul Newton of Bupa, the large U.K. based international health insurance company with 8 million customers in 190 countries, “some of these savings have got to find their way into clients’ pockets, not just partners’ pockets.” His comments appeared in an article on the U.K.’s legalweek.com entitled “Time To Focus On Clients’ Health.”
As he put it, he and others are obviously aware of the “cost cutting at law firms of late – and, unsurprisingly, in-house lawyers are asking where the savings will go.” Clearly, he won’t be happy if some of these savings are not shared with his company.
I don’t mean to be cynical, but I expect many large law firms are primarily cutting associates and staff to ensure that the partners make more money. If in-house lawyers in the U.K. are looking to share in such cost savings, are their U.S. counterparts far behind. Newton informs us that he was able to reduce the rates of one of his regional law firms by 50%. “It is amazing what you can achieve when you start introducing a bit of competition,” he is quoted as saying.
I’m not proposing that BigLaw clients here at home hold their breath until they get their share of these savings, quite the contrary. This presents another solid reason why they should consider utilizing the legal services of small to mid-sized firms instead.
Just one more business development opportunity that presents itself to smaller, more cost efficient law firms.