Research by the General Counsel Roundtable published in 2001 (based on 1999 data) found that “legal departments with a business manager pay, on average, hourly rates 9% lower than departments without a business manager.” This could well be a research conclusion where confounding or correlated variables undermine the reliability of the study. For example, savvy and aggressive legal departments may be more likely to hire a fee manager, so the savings may be attributed to many other efforts than that person’s.
Still, if a business manager attends to outside counsel costs and has some ability to influence the retention, management, guidelines, and payment, almost certainly there will be savings. During the ten years since this research took place, some of the low-hanging fruit in the orchard of cost control may have been plucked, but more remains (See my post of Feb.13, 2008 administrators, office managers with 21 references.).