Corporate Law Department Hiring is Up and Expense Cuts Continue to Decline, According to New ALM Survey

ALM’s 2013 Law Department Metrics Benchmarking Survey also shows trend toward use of Alternative Fee Arrangements continues at modest pace

NEW YORK – September 26, 2013 – In another sign that America’s largest companies are showing more optimism about future revenues, a new survey from ALM Legal Intelligence found that corporate law departments are hiring new lawyers at a rate not seen since prior to the 2008-2009 recession.

ALM’s Law Department Metrics Benchmarking Survey (2013 Edition) -- which analyzed data from 70 in-house law departments at U.S. companies with median global revenues of $3.3 billion -- found that 59 percent of respondents hired new lawyers in the past year, up from 51 percent in last year’s survey, and just 44 percent and 39 percent in the prior two years.

Moreover, the survey found that just 21 percent of respondents are planning on budget cuts in the coming year, down from 24 percent in 2012, and 28 percent and 33 percent in 2011 and 2010 respectively.

“This survey benchmarks continued positive momentum for corporate law departments, particularly the encouraging signs that cuts in staffing and expenses have reversed trend lines and we’re now seeing cautious budget increases,” said Kevin Iredell, vice president of ALM Legal Intelligence.

Another key finding of this year’s survey is that the percentage of corporate law departments using alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) to compensate their outside law firms continues to grow at a very modest rate. In the past year, 82 percent of American companies used some form of AFAs with their outside counsel, up from 79 percent and 72 percent in the two prior years. However, the majority of law departments (58 percent) are still very limited users of AFAs, employing them for less than 20 percent of their total outside counsel spending.

“We often hear frothy market discussions that suggest corporate legal departments are just dabbling with AFAs,” said Kris Satkunas, director of strategic consulting with the LexisNexis® CounselLink® team, which sponsored the survey.  “However, we continue to see a steady stream of indications demonstrating that as in-house counsel gain experience structuring alternative legal projects, their interest in exploring more uses of AFAs grows.”

The survey was conducted by ALM Legal Intelligence and was sponsored by the CounselLink business. CounselLink is a leading cloud-based software for Enterprise Legal Management which includes matter management, legal spend management, legal holds and consulting services for business process innovation and benchmarking.  Click here to download a free copy of the survey report: http://www.lexisnexis.com/163213.

About ALM Legal Intelligence
ALM Legal Intelligence offers detailed business information for and about the legal industry, focused on the top U.S. and international law firms. The division’s online research Web service, www.almlegalintelligence.com, provides subscribers with direct, on-demand access to ALM Legal Intelligence’s extensive database of surveys, rankings and lists related to law firms and the legal industry.  ALM Legal Intelligence is a division of ALM.

About ALM
ALM is a global leader in specialized business news and information. Trusted reporting delivered through innovative technology is the hallmark of ALM’s award-winning media properties, which include Law.com (www.law.com), The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and The New York Law Journal. Headquartered in New York City with 16 offices worldwide, ALM brands have been serving their markets since 1843. For more information, visit www.alm.com.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis® Legal & Professional is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organizations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional harnesses leading-edge technology and world-class content, to help professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways.  Through close collaboration with its customers, the company ensures organizations can leverage its solutions to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase profitability and grow their business. Part of Reed Elsevier Inc., LexisNexis Legal & Professional serves customers in more than 100 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide.
LexisNexis helps professionals at law firms and legal departments of all sizes manage the business element of their practice with innovative software and mobile solutions for customer relationship management, competitive intelligence gathering and assessment, time and billing management, matter management, client analysis, legal holds and more.

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