What patterns do I see in the first year’s worth of monthly compilations of most interesting posts? (Email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the entire 28-page collection.) It turns out that 39 of them have to do with relations with outside counsel. Because I did not consciously favor or omit any particular topics, I just let the idea chips fall where they may, it seems useful to understand this distribution.
- I write more posts under the outside counsel category than any other category, by far.
- Journalists and panelists talk more about controlling the costs of outside counsel than any other topic so I write more.
- Both law firms and law departments have cost control at the top of mind, although for opposing reasons: profits for one and costs for the other.
- General counsel who face budget cuts first look to external spend rather than to firing employees. More than half of most GC’s budgets goes to external counsel so they follow Willie Sutton’s wisdom.
- There is more room to maneuver with law firms and more quickly than with internal staff costs. Innovative ideas crop up more often from the stew of thousands of departments trying tens of thousands of ideas.
- The savings from tightening screws on law firms seem more easily quantified than at least some savings from inside moves. More specifically, if you have to fire someone to remove their cost from your payroll and prove a savings, you might end up paying more outside.
- My consulting projects almost always draw from the well of law-firm cost saving techniques.