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Administrators can only go so far with some initiatives to save costs on external counsel

Several cost-reduction techniques ranked in a recent survey rely on in-house lawyers, more so than administrators, to make them happen. In fact, the top rated one requires much more of lawyers than of operations managers, “Use less expensive attorneys (i.e., regional firms).” The full list of sixteen techniques comes from the Second Annual Law Department Operations Survey at 9.

For other examples where the role of the business manager is secondary, consider “Early case assessment,” which certainly has a process component that an administrator can push along, but the ultimate judgments are legal. Likewise “Preferred Provider Network” involves RFPs, bidders’ conferences, deadlines, and quantitative analysis – all steps that administrators can run – but the ultimate choices of firms fall to lawyers. Finally, “Staffing controls” allows enforcement through administrative oversight, but rests mostly on the evaluations of in-house attorneys regarding the competencies of external counsel.