To the degree that law departments and law firms were to publicize their fixed fees for handling broad ranges of matters, such as “$500,000 a year for all employment-related adversarial relations,” in-house counsel will be better able to quantify their relative value to their company.
Comprehensive data regarding such fees for swathes of work are not yet publicly available, but as that information leaks out or is collected, some calculations will be possible (See my post of June 9, 2009: shared, online evaluations of law firms.). An entrepreneur might collect fixed fee information that does not disclose the firm or the company and put together a modest business that enables such comparisons (See my post of Feb. 9, 2009: business opportunities discussed on this blog with 12 references and one metapost.).
In other words, if there were a few data points of fixed fees for large amounts of what is done by a law department, a head of legal could start to say, “Were we to hire a suite of law firms on the average terms they have offered, as adjusted by our size and conditions, the cost would be $3.5 million. Our internal and external costs projected for this year are $3.2 million, so we look set to save the company the difference, $300,000.”