But eager to strike the balance between cost savings and their own longevity, public sector legal departments have tended to outsource on project-specific work rather than sending out their entire workloads.
Now, convinced that it can make legal departments sign their own death warrants, Kent County Council has teamed up with regional firm Geldards to create the Law:Public brand.
Kent legal chief Geoff Wild claims that with a combined team of 180 lawyers, Law:Public would be capable of managing the entire legal function of certain local authorities (see story).
But is it a helping hand or in fact a predatory move? Whatever the answer to that question, Wild is adamant that in the new spending environment local authorities will need to take some drastic action to survive (see leader).
And as The Lawyer reports today, a proposed restructuring at Birmingham City Council shows that Wild could be right (see story).
Also on TheLawyer.com: Our Annual Offshore Survey reveals that Appleby has overtaken Maples and Calder as the largest offshore firm by partner headcount; Outer Temple barristers launch standalone company to capture international work; and Linklaters is on track with plan to cut salaried partner ranks.