Legal Business

Dissent: Why the in-house triumph over law firms may prove short-lived

Scott Gibson and Kristi Edwards argue that GCs have secured a short-term advantage over their external advisers at the risk of undermining their own position

In the decade prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, an excess of work masked the corrosive effect to law firms from competition with increasingly sophisticated and growing in-house legal departments (C&I teams). Post-Lehman, the economic downturn has exposed significant structural challenges to overstaffed law firms, which have been ruthlessly exploited by C&I to decisively shift the balance of power in favour of clients.