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Is there a widening disinclination in law departments to use consultants?

As my 20-year consulting career testifies, many general counsel turn to consultants from time to time. A few general counsel are inveterate consumers of consulting. The plurality looks to outside advisors every now and then. But many law departments these days, I sense, bear an animus against consultants.

Possibly the company has banned the use of consultants or made it very difficult to obtain approval to retain them. Possibly the culture of the company eschews third-party assistance: “We are a can-do, self-sufficient company and have ample internal capabilities.” Some general counsel do not believe that consultants deliver sufficient value (See my post of June 4, 2007 on the value delivered by consultants.), especially as the fees charged by consultants have gone up like those of other personal service providers.

The free and easy availability of ample ideas and information about law department management (See my posts of April 27, 2007 on the internet and four generations of resources; Aug. 19, 2007 #4 for a sample of conferences; April 15, 2006 on groups for general counsel; and Dec. 26, 2007 for publications that address legal department concerns.) has made it easier to bypass consultants. All in all, the niche industry of consulting to law departments seems unlikely to grow.

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