Business Leadership report: in-house lawyers failing to capitalise on New Law

A growing number of in-house lawyers are preparing to make significant changes to their teams this year based on the availability of alternative legal services suppliers, today’s Business Leadership report has found.

Yet in spite of this, there are clear indications that many in-house lawyers remain reluctant to take advantage of new and potentially time-saving services offered to them, even though the overwhelming majority say their businesses expect them and their teams to deliver more for less.

When asked if they had made any significant changes to the structure, size, function or composition of their team over the past year, at least partly as a direct result of their use of alternative legal services, 81.7 per cent of respondents said they had not.

But when asked if they anticipated making any changes in this respect over the next 12 months, the number of respondents saying no fell to 68.4 per cent, with the proportion saying yes almost doubling from 18.4 per cent to 31.6 per cent .

These findings are set in the context of the findings of a question that asked whether, during the current financial year, in-house lawyers expected their team would have to deliver ‘more for less’ to meet the demands of their business. The overwhelming majority, 86.6 per cent, said they would.

These are just some of the findings in the research among a wide cross-section of the in-house market, which aimed to assess if there had been a step change in the legal market in terms of the services that clients are being offered and are using.

The indications from the results are that the answer to both questions is “no”, or more accurately, not yet.

“We lack imagination, creative zeal and desire to pressure firms to come up with the goods,” says Nilema Bhakti-Jones of TopRight in today’s feature. “But to be fair, we’re not trained to be creative. We can find creative legal solutions but not practical operational creative solutions.”

The full Business Leadership report is available at thelawyer.com/businessleadership. It is published today alongside an executive summary in this week’s print edition of The Lawyer.

As well as the survey results the full report also includes six peer panel articles featuring some of the market’s leading legal services providers discussing topical issues across a range of subjects including risk and compliance, knowledge management, technology and agile working.

It also includes the results of research carried out by The Lawyer sister brand Econsultancy into digital marketing in the legal sector.