The Value of In-House Counsel

Each year the BTI Consulting Group issues a report entitled, “Benchmarking Corporate Counsel Management Strategies,” for this year’s report they interviewed over 240 corporate counsel at large and Fortune 1000 companies, and mark the first year in seven that cost cutting was not the primary goal for in-house, corporate counsel. In almost every industry whether it be public relations, advertising, or law the primary reason or goal of in-house staffing has always been to cut the cost of retaining an outside consultant or firm, but that seems to be evolving now.

Counsel is becoming more hands on and more involved in the day to day operations of the company and counsellors are coming to companies with established business acumen with the goal of assisting and providing them with value beyond cost. The value that in-house has begun to recognize is that they need to not only have this business sense but deliver on it. They have the expertise that allows them to not just cut cost but generate revenue. According to Jennifer Brown of Canadian Lawyer Magazine they are, …more valuable to organizations when they prevent problems… or suggest opportunities to boost the bottom line.

This push to become more involved in the business end of corporations is reinforced by the growth in the number of in-house counsel this year which rose by an average of 4 new hires.  The shift further illustrates that the goals of counsel need to be, “…helping clients avoid problems and solve them faster,” says Patrick Lamb of Rebel Lawyers the subsidiary blog of the American Bar Association Journal.

If you are an in-house counsel looking to add value, a great report was recently released by the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) and Davies Ward Phillips Vineberg LLP, that not only looked at the positive aspects of the profession for lawyers but also gave recommendations on how to add value to the company you are working with or for. These included; risk management, regulatory compliance, and managing cost of outside counsel.

By having a hands on in-house counsel that has a better understanding of your business and goals they help craft strategies and solutions that aid your development, rather than just provide a solution to a single issue.  The value mounts as focus shifts to growth and the economy recovers and begins to push forward.

To read both reports see the links below:

BTI Consulting Group: http://www.bticonsulting.com/publications/bti-benchmarking-corporate-counsel-management-strategies-201.html

CCCA & Davies:  http://www.ccca-accje.org/En/membership/main/surveys.aspx (You must be a member to read the full report)

Highlights can be found here: http://www.ccca-accje.org/En/about/releases-2012/2012-04-16-barometer.aspx

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