The 2006 InsideCounsel/DataCert Annual Report of Corporate Law Departments features responses from about 180 law departments. When those departments identified which of eight cost-control steps they had taken, the dominant method was to bring more work in-house.
Here are the rankings from InsideCounsel, May 2006 at 70 and the percentage of respondents who chose it:
1. Brought more work in-house (72.8%)
2. Used interns, paralegals or temporary staff (35.9%)
3. Used alternative fee arrangements with outside counsel (31.1%)
4. Consolidated preferred providers (21.4%)
5. Reduced staff (18.4%)
6. Used ADR (17.5%)
7. Used competitive bidding (7.8%)
8. Outsourced more work to U.S. law firms (1.9%) !!!!
As to 1, you assume that means to add staff, but it could mean to work the existing staff harder or smarter, or even not to go to outside counsel so readily. And note how this step is contrary to the 5th step. As to 2, see my post of March 25, 2005 on interns. The third-ranked step brings to mind my post of Sept. 5, 2005 about Citigroup criticizing discounts as an alternative fee arrangement. Regarding 6, see my post of Dec. 9, 2005 about dispute-wise companies. One might have expected to see budgets and e-bill analysis in this list.