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Doubtful that a quarter a typical in-house lawyer’s time is spent managing outside counsel

Six years ago, based on a survey they conducted, ACCA and Serengeti announced that 24.3 percent of in-house attorney time, on average, is spent managing outside counsel. That percentage seems much too high.

Many in-house lawyers serve in as generalist legal counsel for a business unit, and those lawyers do not turn often to outside counsel. Much of their work revolves around contracts and relatively simple legal issues pertaining to real estate, personnel, and marketing. Specialist lawyers, who handle IP, environmental, HR and other areas, have more frequent need for outside counsel (See my post of Nov. 8, 2005 on the irony of specialists using external lawyers more.), but they surely don’t spend on average 10 hours a week or so managing outside counsel (See my post of Nov. 8, 2005 about measuring total hours of legal advice rendered.).

Litigation managers certainly pull the average higher, but they only account for about one out of six to eight lawyers in a typical law department (See my post of Oct. 29, 2005.).