Continued budgetary constraints are hitting the average in-house legal team, with a new survey indicating that corporate legal departments are prioritizing cost containment through various strategies, including AI.
The survey of nearly 400 chief legal officers, general counsel and other in-house counsel and legal professionals, sponsored by the Association of Corporate Counsel and Everlaw, found that 66% of in-house teams will shed cost by bringing work in house, up from 59% in 2022.
Other cost-saving strategies include moving work from big firms to smaller ones (39%) and using AI, which rose to 33% from just 12% a year ago.
A few other key findings:
- Only 42% of in-house legal professionals saying they’re happy with cost transparency and just 38% are happy with cost predictability of outside counsel.
- 70% say they hope to be better aligned with other business departments across the company; those in other business units still often say that legal slows down projects (58%) and is overly risk-averse (41%).
“In-house legal teams have made great strides to improve internal and external collaboration in their organizations, but there is clearly a long way to go,” said Blake Garcia, senior director of business intelligence at ACC. “Legal teams continue to be seen as roadblocks on projects and nearly half reported they are consulted too late in strategic corporate decisions. With legal teams’ responsibilities increasing, yet continually being asked to do more with less, technology adoption is likely the most efficient way teams can improve communications with every corner of the organization.”