Published on:

Four cost control techniques from a survey of small law departments

The 2009 Empsight/ACC Small Law Compensation Survey reports on 146 organizations that gave text responses to a question concerning the effects of the recession. As published in the ACC Docket, Nov. 2009 at 8, several points struck me.

“Travel expenses were frequently cited as targets for reduction or elimination.” I assume this means departments tightened the belt for their own lawyers, particularly on air travel.

“In other cases a hiring freeze had been imposed, while others had essentially delayed hiring, which had the same short-run effect.” If business slumps, perhaps for some departments a freeze or a delay makes little difference in workload.

Some “participants reported the elimination of outside training resources on topics like compliance.” Consultants, including trainers, feel the axe first when times get tough.

“Though both were reported, more participants cited use of salary freezes than outright reductions in salary. Several reported the reduction or elimination of bonus payments.” Better all jobs with pay notches than fewer jobs with raises.

Overall, though, no shock and awe appears from this collection of minor adjustments.