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By 2013, the total number of outside law firms our department uses will?

From a survey on Legal OnRamp, a professional networking site for lawyers, 84 in-house lawyers responded who work at companies with revenues of at least one billion dollars. The American Lawyer’s Aric Press put the survey in context.

Over the next five years, the reduction in the number of law firms used by these large law departments is projected to continue for about two-thirds of them. Convergence, as it is referred to, of 1-20 percent was selected the most , at 37 percent. A smaller percentage (21%) anticipate even more drastic convergence. Bear in mind you, however, that the paring is expected over five years, which could mean modest cuts each year.

Contrariwise, a bit more than four out of ten of the law department lawyers foresee no drop in the number of law firms serving their departments, or even the opposite of convergence. Some 30 percent of these big-company departments forecast that the total number of outside law firms their department uses will stay the same. Even worse for the future of convergence, 12 percent of the respondents foresee the number of firms they use increasing (See my post of Feb. 16, 2008: convergence with 26 references.).