Risk management: the strategic, sustainable way to reduce long-term legal costs

Risk management: the strategic, sustainable way to reduce long-term legal costs

By Matt Whalley

The legal services model is under pressure on two fronts. Already creaking in the face of interminable cost pressure, law firms are also facing a slow but steady migration of talent away from the partnership track. Seemingly on the cusp of a tidal-wave of change, law firms need to be better prepared to cope with a changing legal model.

Over the last three years, alternative legal-service providers, like BLP's Lawyers On Demand, have seen large numbers of lawyers move into freelance assignments, gaining greater control over their work-life balance and doing interesting work for many different clients. At the same time, great lawyers continue to move to permanent in-house roles. These lawyers aren't moving into 9-5 desk jobs. They are moving into roles with significant variety and responsibility.

When they move in-house, lawyers are at the coal-face of legal service delivery. Their challenge is to deliver a great service within an agreed budget, and to deliver value within a reasonable time-scale. They do this for large organisations, and are expected to act on matters outside their previous areas of expertise.

Highly educated, highly motivated, driven to succeed, in-house counsel have learnt to answer this challenge. They are changing the model, unrestricted by hourly billing targets or gearing ratios, and with the resources of large corporate machines to help them deliver.

In-house legal departments have moved away f

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About the author:

Matt Whalley works for Berwin Leighton Paisner, and is setting-up their new Legal Risk Consultancy. Prior to joining BLP in 2011, Matt spent 6 years running a global legal-function transformation programme, for a large bank.

To find out more about what legal risk is, and how it can be managed effectively, read:

Legal risk: two-part definitions that identify the right risks and get the business to own them

How General Counsels can manage legal risk: Four practical techniques for a successful legal-risk framework

Managing legal risk effectively – an evolving approach

You can contact Matt by phone, e-mail or Twitter.  +44 (0) 20 3400 3587 | matthew.whalley@blplaw.com | @mattwha