Economists would distill the corporate legal market into the DEMAND by corporations for legal services and the SUPPLY of those services.
Demand, what drives legal services, has been a topic returned to more than a few time on this blog (See my post of July 2, 2007: what drives a company to hire its first in-house lawyer; and Dec. 7, 2010: six primary drivers of total legal spending. Many topics reflect changes in demand for the advice of lawyers: global spread of business, regulatory requirements, complexity, intellectual property’s ascendance.
Supply, what meets the demand for legal services, has many forms. Foremost for organizations with a legal team of employees are inside lawyers followed by external counsel. Recently, LPOs have muscled in, along with educated clients who practice self-serve. Increasingly, online resources will be available to dispense legal guidance and documents (See my post of Oct. 31, 2005: online legal resources; Nov. 15, 2005: online resources; Jan. 10, 2006: lawyers and research online; Jan. 13, 2006: free online information; March 9, 2007: the price of legal information is being driven to zero; April 27, 2007: the internet and four generations of resources; Jan. 25, 2008: Martindale-Hubble and shared evaluations of law firms; Sept. 9, 2008: economics of information; and Jan. 11, 2010: Ning with 600+ IP blogs.).
Notions of supply and demand have shown up together on this blog in specific contexts (See my post of Feb. 1, 2006: auctions; March 20, 2008: in-house compensation; Sept. 22, 2008: social networks for lawyers, a metapost;; Nov. 17, 2008: without fungible sellers, legal economy violates standard economic assumptions; May 11, 2009: Say’s Law that supply creates its own demand; and April 29, 2010: no gap between supply of value by law firms and demand for it according to classical economists.).