New Business for the Taking: Corporate Counsel Shift Work Back to Law Firms

After 4 years of feverishly bringing work in-house corporate counsel are reversing course. BTI’s brand new study of 322 corporate counsel reveals these top decision makers will move $851 million of in-house spending back to law firms this year. This is in direct contrast to the more than $8 billion in legal spending moved in-house since 2011.

And the work moving to law firms isn’t your everyday work. Clients are bracing for an increase in the big ticket matters law firms drool over. These Chief Legal Officers expect a tripling of bet-the-company litigation, increases in class actions, and substantially more securities litigation. This mini avalanche in high-risk work has clients looking for access to broader resources and skills than they have in-house.

So, the only question is how you outmaneuver all those other law firms who really, really want this work. We think the winners will look beyond the individual opportunities presented by each new matter. Some firms will win pieces of new work on a matter-by-matter basis. The big winners will present themselves to clients as strategists and discuss risks and exposures before the matters ever start. The bigger winners will discuss prevention, potential settlement postures and learn about the business risks posed by the new matters.

Clients are once again adopting new strategies as they adapt to their strategic issues. Few clients will announce these changes as they are too busy managing and dealing with their own goals. Clients will simply evaluate the law firms with whom they work and select accordingly. The biggest winners will ensure they are in a place where clients will see them first—and the most work will go the firms who make the best first impression.

There is $851 million in new business up for grabs. Every new matter—no matter the size—is your opening to help identify and think through your client’s strategy. Offer to develop a plan of attack for what is to come. Embed yourself in the conversation. Introduce preventive strategies. Your options are many—as long you move faster and smarter than everyone else. 

MBR