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    Corporate Counsel Shift Another $1.1 Billion In-House

    BTI’s first look at legal spending for 2014 and 2015 shows corporate counsel continue on a 3-year path of bringing work in-house. Larger companies, with $1 billion or more in revenue, are on track to move another $1.1 billion in legal spending in-house.[1] This is on top of the $5.8 billion corporate counsel moved in-house in 2013.

    In-house spending appears to be the new growth market. As reported earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal58% of companies report making the shift in-house, up from only 50% of companies last year. The work moving in-house includes:

    • Regulatory
    • M&A
    • Securities
    • Corporate Governance
    • IP/Patent/Trademark
    • Contract

    Growth in internal departments for the third straight year points to a pervasive trend rather than an idle experiment. Value conscious General Counsel have increasing access to high quality talent—mostly due to today’s job market where many law firm partners make the jump to in-house counsel. Bringing this talent in-house is seen as higher value and more cost effective than using outside counsel.

    Despite the lag in growth for outside counsel spending, savvy law firms can use this trend to their advantage.

    Most law firms are focused on recouping lost dollars through ramped up business development and new strategic initiatives. A handful of firms are taking a client-focused approach and helping clients bring work in-house. These firms are building a better understanding of their clients’ business and positioning their firm to win coveted new work.

    General Counsel have identified 3 approaches law firms can take to secure their position on their client’s core roster:

    1. Training in-house resources in routine tasks and case assessment
    2. Facilitate knowledge transfer by granting clients access to research tools and other support systems not typically found in the corporate legal department
    3. Providing long-term staff assignments to fill missing talent gaps

    The ultimate winners make every trend work to their advantage—this is no exception. 


    [1] Based on BTI research conducted between March 2014 and September 2014. BTI conducted more than 300 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations. This new research will be available in the upcoming BTI Corporate Legal Spending Outlook 2015, scheduled for release in October 2014. 



    Clients Demand More, Get More: Happiest with Law Firms in 3 Years

    Client investment—both financial and emotional—in law firms jumps after a 3-year decline. In 2014, 40.1% of corporate counsel recommend their primary law firm to a peer, up from 31.4% in 2013. Increasing client investment can be good or bad news—it all depends on whether or not your client is investing in your firm.  

    Corporate counsel are taking the time to better articulate their expectations of law firms and working harder to ensure their law firm understands. BTI’s newest research shows law firms are listening—and acting.

    High-performing law firms are stepping up to meet the challenging demands laid out by clients. These firms are enjoying quantum leaps (6% to 11% higher growth) in performance and earning more business than before. Clients say the firms they use and recommend to others are focusing on 3 core demands:

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    It was 25 Years Ago Today...


    How to CYA (Cover Your Achilles) Before You Ever Need To

    Achilles, the Greek war hero, struck down by a strategically targeted arrow.

    It only took a single vulnerability to topple the seemingly invincible.

    In his death, the mighty Achilles taught us a valuable lesson: do not simply rely on your strengths; know your vulnerabilities and take great care to not let them be your downfall.

    Like Achilles—despite great strength and skill—every law firm is vulnerable. Firms ignoring the woeful tale of Achilles are at risk. However, recognizing potential vulnerabilities gives you the opportunity to fend them off.

    BTI spoke with more than 330 corporate counsel and discovered even strong relationships suffer from 1 of 3 potentially fatal weaknesses:

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    Law Firm Discounts Defy the Laws of Physics


    To see exactly where your firm's rates compare to what clients are paying in BTI's Billing Rate Reference 2014, visit:


    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Profitable AFAs

    Far out at the edges of unchartered space exists the mostly uninhabited planet of Profitable AFAs.

    This isn’t science fiction comedy. Profitable AFAs do, in fact, exist. We partnered with our friends at Law360 to survey more than 750 attorneys. What we discovered is 22% of partners are prospering in what many consider a desolate land.



    AFAs are old news. Clients demanding AFAs is old news. Turning a clear profit from AFAs is new.

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    Press 1 If You Are in a Legal Crisis, Press 2 If Your Matter Has Billings in the 7 Figures

    The Mad Clientist: How many true emergency, ‘I need help right now,’ phone calls does your firm get in a year? 1, 2, 5?

    Law Firm Leader: There are at least a dozen I can name off the top of my head…maybe 15.

    The Mad Clientist: So, once a month?

    Law Firm Leader: Yes, definitely, if not more.

    The Mad Clientist: How much do these crisis calls generate in fees?

    Law Firm Leader: It depends. Some are not really crises so they don’t generate much, but about half become multi-hundred thousand dollar billings, and at least one or two become multimillion dollar fees.


    We all want the juicy bet-the-company work. We savor the challenge, the prestige, and the opportunity to make an impact—and a profit. But are we prepared to get the work? I know you have the resources and the talent, but are you prepared for when you get the call? Yes—the actual call for help.  

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    How to Stand Out in a Crowded Tank

    Anna, about 3, immediately pulled Mom by the hand over to the lobster tank asking in a loud excited voice: “Where’s Larry?! Where’s Larry?!” as she approached the lobster tank at Captain Marden’s in Wellesley, MA.

    Mom asked Steve, the man behind the counter, if he could take a moment and see if he could find Larry.

    Steve grabbed the lobster rake and combed through the lobsters, at least a hundred of the little creatures. “I see him,” he told Anna, “it’ll just be a minute now.” You could see the rake being maneuvered with great intention to be sure to track down not just any lobster—but Larry the Lobster.

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    The End of the IP Gold Rush?

    By 2010, the IP market was unstoppable. Patent reform, technology booms, and predatory litigation fueled unprecedented growth. The opportunities available to law firms made IP a gold-prize practice. In 2014 the gold nuggets in IP are a lot harder to find—but may be worth even more.

    IP—including IP litigation—is under attack. The assailant? Corporate counsel.

    While law firms have enjoyed a steady stream of IP work over the past 4 years, corporate counsel have been quietly changing their mindset. Decision makers are showing less and less interest in the never-ending, expensive approach of defending all IP at any cost. Instead, clients are moving ahead with more focus and a keener sense of priority when it comes to their IP portfolios.  

    Expect the impact of corporate counsel’s new approach to be in full swing by Fall 2014.

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    The Mad Clientist Takes a Vacation

    After a busy start to 2014 it’s vacation time for The Mad Clientist.

    If the warm weather holds up he’ll be kicking back on the deck with a cold drink in one hand and a good book in the other. Though the stack of books to catch up on is 10 books high, his top choices right now are:

    The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman

    Lexicon by Max Barry

    The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson

    Where do you think he should start—let him know in the comments below. Or suggest your favorite book below to share with all of The Mad Clientist’s readers.

    Whatever you’re planning, both BTI and The Mad Clientist hope your summer includes some time for yourself to pick up a book, catch a movie, enjoy a round of golf, sail or just unwind.

    Have a happy 4th of July.