What does the future hold for law departments?
“The question I’m posing, then, is whether we will get to the point where multi-billion corporations go without law departments or at least scale the law department down. Think of a law department with a general counsel and a few subject matter leads (securities, employment, etc.), but no one else even though the corporation ranks in the top 50 on the Fortune 500 list. Today, the answer would be no. The cost gap between in-house lawyers and outside lawyers continues to grow while the skill gap shrinks. Over the past 30 years, and particularly over the last 5 years, corporations have learned they can bring in-house the same lawyer they use in a law firm, but at a greatly reduced cost. This knowledge has led law departments to go on a hiring binge as they trade outside spending for in-house payroll. What would it take to change?”