As Part of ‘Pervasive Trend,’ Companies Still Moving Legal Work In-House

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By Michael Greene

Sept. 16 — In line with a three-year trend, large companies continue to move legal spending in-house, according to an early study of 2014-15 spending by the BTI Consulting Group.

According to a Sept. 15 BTI blog post, announcing the results of survey research conducted between March and September, “[l]arger companies, with $1 billion or more in revenue, are on track to move another $1.1 billion in legal spending in-house.” This is in addition to the $5.8 billion moved in-house in 2013.

Moreover, 58 percent of surveyed companies report a shift of resources in-house—up from 50 percent of companies in 2013—a move that shows that “in-house spending appears to be the new growth market” and that the in-house shift is a “pervasive trend rather than an idle experiment.”

BTI surveyed more than 300 chief legal officers and general counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations. The full results of BTI's analysis will be released in October. President Michael Rynowecer said this is the 14th year BTI has conducted the study.

Access to Talent

Among the most prevalent areas of legal work that companies are moving in-house are: regulatory, M&A, securities, corporate governance, intellectual property and contracts.

The recent trend of shifting work in-house during the last three years may stem in part from the fact that “[v]alue conscious General Counsel have increasing access to high quality talent—mostly due to today's job market where many law firm partners make the jump to in-house counsel,” according to BTI.

“Bringing this talent in-house is seen as higher value and more cost effective than using outside counsel,” BTI stated.

Rynowecer told Bloomberg BNA this trend dates back to 2009, when many large law firms let partners go as part of consolidation efforts. Moreover, in-house jobs have become more attractive as the role has “changed over the years” to “become a larger role, and the salaries have become competitive with the law firms.”

According to the report, there are three approaches law firms can take to secure their positions on their client's core roster: (1) train in-house resources in routine tasks, such as case evaluations; (2) “facilitat[e] knowledge transfer by granting clients access to research tools and other support systems not typically found in the corporate legal department” and (3) create long-term staff assignments “to fill missing talent gaps.”

Based in Wellesley, Massachusetts, BTI conducts independent research on how clients acquire, manage and evaluate their professional service providers.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at

A link to the BTI report is available at