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We have asked in-house lawyers to give their advice on how in-house legal teams can ensure they are being effective in assisting their business.
2014 was another interesting year for in-house legal teams, which are continuing to grow in the face of:
o increased volume of work as the economy recovers
o cost pressures meaning that the relative cost of internal vs external resources supports recruitment
o the increasing volume and complexity of regulation, meaning that compliance is a real headache for many
This is only going to ramp up over the coming years.
In response to this, we are seeing many in-house legal teams transforming the way they are doing business. There is a real focus on efficiency and more teams are using metrics to demonstrate a return on investment to the business, looking at process re-engineering,
business 'self-serve' initiatives and traction in the adoption of technology to enable teams to work smarter.
It is also apparent that in-house teams are pushing their panel firms to work more efficiently. External advisors are also having to become more sophisticated as in-house teams drive ever harder bargains on fees, and all in the face of alternative models
to outsource legal process in different ways.
Finally, as many of our panel below have noted, legal and regulatory compliance is a crucial element of the role and requirements have become more burdensome year-on-year, something which will continue to be high on the agenda in 2015 and beyond.
I think the greatest challenge a General Counsel has to face today is managing legal issues in an ever-increasing regulatory environment while at the same time trying to retain control of costs. It's a strange kind of perfect storm that we live in where
the very regulatory environment, which makes doing business more costly, causes costs pressures on the legal department's budget who are charged with helping the business be compliant with those very regulations--so a kind of vicious circle.
I think that legal departments continue to evolve all the time as the business does, but I think that one of the most important ways that we will evolve over the next five years is to play a role in education; an increasingly important role. Raising awareness
of the legal environmen
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