Cuts in their budgets give power to law departments?

“The world economic downturn has further boosted company in-house lawyers’ power, with cost-cutting giving them the impetus to hire fewer outside lawyers and taken on more and broader-ranging work themselves.”

Nothing like gaining strength from weakness! This quote, from the Economist online Oct. 19, 2010 (Michael Peel) is oblivious to its irony. Law departments with shrunken budgets don’t gain power. Instead, with less money they are forced to maneuver and make do. Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention and sometimes the external prod pushes a department to try out what it otherwise would not have tried. In no way though does penury create power. Lemons may sometimes create lemonade, but mostly they are small, hard and bitter, like a slashed budget. Without money, without muscle.

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