Slash your fees, say in-house to law firms

In-house lawyers are set to become more aggressive with their law firms in 1999, re-negotiating fees and reviewing panels, an exclusive survey by the Lawyer reveals this week.

Seventy per cent surveyed say their private practice fees were excessive in the survey, which was conducted at the end of last year.

Of those who said that fees were excessive, 50 per cent said they would consider using an alternative firm.

The survey also reveals that 68 per cent of all respondents intend to change law firms this year.

The survey, conducted among 100 in-house lawyers, shows that over three quarters are happy with their lot and would not be tempted to return to private practice. They cite a better career structure, fewer working hours, and better employee benefits and lifestyle as a few of the benefits that will stop them making the switch back to private practice – 75 per cent of respondents say not even higher pay would entice them back.

In-house lawyers will continue to need external advice and despite a history of bad blood between in-housers and private practice lawyers, the relationship between the two seems to be improving.

They admit that they could somtimes provide better instructions and are also appreciative of the “helpful” and “accommodating” nature of their colleagues.

See page 11 for the survey results in full.