Legal procurement and management in the United States is like the Wild Wild West. Everything has changed in less than a decade. Industry and the legal field are doing their best to stay ahead of the challenges, but the risks and the frustrations have increased, prices are all over the lot and satisfaction levels are declining, as are the number of students applying to law school every year for five years running.
From every perspective the legal environment is different. Big Law, smaller firms, government agencies and the in-house legal teams at companies across every industry – public or private – are working within a legal business eco-structure that is changing.
Across the public and private sectors, in public, private, large, growing multinational companies, in-house counsel are being asked to do more with less: reduce legal costs without sacrificing the quality of representation. Through procurement initiatives and outsourcing, buyers have been exerting more control over the legal procurement process. Vendors of all types have sprung up as a cottage industry designed to support the technological or logistical needs of the matter. Reduced budgets, increased oversight, aggressive agency enforcement tactics, and a predatory plaintiff’s bar make it harder than ever for in-house counsel to balance their ledgers while fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities to their companies and shareholders.