A stark contrast appeared in a recent survey. Asked to rank five cost-reduction steps in order of importance, one quarter of a group of in-house respondents chose “Hiring freeze or reduction in legal department staff” while at the same time almost the same percentage chose “Hiring in-house counsel or temporary staff to reduce outside counsel.” The data comes from Major, Lindsey & Africa’s survey during the spring of 2011.
One could simplify these responses to highlight the opposing views: fire department lawyers versus hire more department lawyers. It is true that “reduction in staff” doesn’t necessarily mean lawyers and hiring “temporary staff” muddies the second choice. Still, the underlying basics, the steps that clash as opposites, are to skinny down or beef up. The report simply provides the metrics, it does not further elaborate on them. Sonya Olds Som, a lawyer and recruiter at MLA, will be please to send you the report if you write Som.