Prawnik 360
LegalNovember 22, 2022

Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions podcast examines rise in corporate legal departments outside spend

Data from ELM Solutions’ LegalVIEW database shows that spend is up even as vendor counts decline

The legal industry is no longer a buyer’s market, with the most recent edition to Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions’ LegalVIEW Insights report series finding that corporate legal departments (CLDs) experienced a 21% increase in median outside counsel spend and a 36% increase in mean outside counsel spend in 2021. A new installment of ELM Solutions’ Legal Leaders Exchange podcast sheds further light on that data, exploring why some corporations may be paying higher legal fees, as well as offering strategies that in-house counsel can leverage to help negotiate better rates with their law firm providers.

ELM Solutions experts Jeffrey Solomon, Senior Director of the company’s LegalVIEW BillAnalyzer spend management solution, and Nathan Cemenska, Director of Legal Operations and Industry Insights, explain that many law firms began advocating for higher rates to counterbalance the rigorous cost controls enacted by some CLDs during the pandemic. They also note that many in-house legal teams still lack sophisticated rate management programs capable of establishing well-defined billing guidelines and evaluating law firm invoices for compliance.

Solomon and Cemenska theorize that a bump in rates – and the resulting “sticker shock” – could spur more CLDs in the direction of technologies such as LegalVIEW BillAnalyzer, which leverages AI to deliver an up to 10% cost savings and up to 20% increase in billing guideline compliance while also providing in-house teams with the industry benchmarking data they require to engage in more proactive discussions with their law firm providers.  

“We run into many law departments who take what their law firms say as gospel because they value the relationship and are afraid to have a more explicit discussion,” Solomon says. “But if you ask for preferred rates or discounts in exchange for more business, many firms will accommodate those requests.”

“Corporate legal departments can’t afford to place their rate management programs on autopilot,” Cemenska says. “If they do, the situation will likely become critical within six months’ time.”

The LegalVIEW Insights program is a series of reports, blogs and webinars that draws from the more than $155 billion in real legal invoice data contained in ELM Solutions’ LegalVIEW database. Published earlier this year, the fifth LegalVIEW Insights report examines trends in vendor mix and total outside spend.

Governance, Risk & Compliance is a division of Wolters Kluwer, which provides legal and banking professionals with solutions to help ensure compliance with ever-changing regulatory and legal obligations, manage risk, increase efficiency, and produce better business outcomes.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the health, tax & accounting, governance, risk & compliance, and legal & regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services.

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