In-house survey: power shift

In-house survey: power shift

Extracting greater value from dwindling resources is top of the agenda as general counsel look to flex their muscles. Welcome to our first-ever in-house survey

‘It’s just like a marriage: a relationship between a law firm and a company is one that needs to be nurtured to make sure both are on the same page.’ This comment from a law firm partner rings particularly true as we publish the results of the first-ever Legal Business and The In-House Lawyer in-house survey. In this special report, we find out whether clients believe law firms and themselves are truly on the same page.

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No drop in demand for external legal advice

Results from our first-ever in-house survey show that companies’ legal budgets have largely stayed the same or even increased while demand for external services has risen, debunking the myth that widespread cuts to legal budgets have forced general counsel (GC) to instruct law firms less.

Canvassing the views of more than 100 in-house lawyers worldwide, the survey showed that 50% of respondents’ legal services budgets remained unchanged in the last year, while 44% said that demand for external legal services had increased over the same period. This was despite the fact that 67% said their companies had a policy of retaining more matters in-house.

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Power brokers

Power brokers

As all eyes turn to energy as the safe hedge in a turbulent market, there is no doubt that the sector’s general counsel are in an excellent bargaining position

In terms of legal spend, an energy company is a particularly lucrative client. To begin with, the acquisitive nature of these cash-rich corporates means that transactional advice is clearly a must. Also, as the recent BP oil spill all too effectively demonstrated, the high-risk nature of the industry provides a fair flow of environmental and litigation instructions too.

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Real estate – In The House

Real estate – In The House

 

In the first of a series of looks at the UK’s top in-house lawyers, LB profiles a few GCs who are turning heads in the property market

There was a time when private practice lawyers looked down their noses at their in-house counterparts. The logic went that in-housers had swapped the fat fees of private practice for an easier life that would let them get home in time for tea. But not anymore. Over the past few years, the role of the in-house lawyer has grown from taking a back seat to outside counsel to becoming the true powerbrokers in their respective fields. 

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Sole adviser – Having it all

Sole adviser – Having it all

Baker & McKenzie, Eversheds and Berwin Leighton Paisner are just a few firms synonymous with adopting the one-client-one-law-firm model, but just who benefits from these deals in the long run?

Robin Saphra’s life got a little easier at the start of the year. The Colt Group’s general counsel (GC), like many of his peers, was juggling a legal spend, that he had to stretch across more than a hundred European law firms.

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Under review

Under review

Over the past decade panels have defined the relationship between law firms and the major banks. But as the nature of those relationships shifts, panels are becoming even more important

Mark Harding insists there’s been a shift of power. ‘Previously, with a lot of work, the boot was always on the law firm foot,’ Barclays’ general counsel asserts. ‘Now the boot is on the other foot.’ Coming from one of the most senior GCs in the City, head of a 900-strong in-house team with a legal spend of £100m, it’s something to take note of. Continue reading “Under review”