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“Periodic written matter updates” as a very common demand by law departments?

I am surprised that the fifth most common obligation imposed on law firms, according to the most recent Serengeti survey, is “periodic written matter updates.” It takes time for firms to prepare write-ups, even if the style is formalized, and that time costs money. Maybe in all my consulting I just don’t hear about it as a cost-control tactic (See my post of Aug. 21, 2008: techniques to save costs with 24 references.).

Semantics might explain the surprising finding. Perhaps the time between reports is very long, such as semi-annually. Perhaps firms can relatively easily update a field or two in a matter management system. Perhaps some law departments view materiality reports for auditors on litigation as falling into this category. Perhaps materials prepared for an early case assessment mean to some in-house lawyers “periodic written updates.” Perhaps, even more cynically, the remaining choices on the list were even less palatable. The data can be found in the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, March 2009 at 12.