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In-House Spending Up, Survey Says

A survey released today concludes that the cost to operate an in-house law department jumped significantly in 2005. Total law department expenses rose 7.9 percent, to an average cost per lawyer of $914,229. The internal costs of operating a law department rose by 2.6 percent, to an average cost per lawyer of $332,823.

The annual Law Department Metrics Benchmarking Survey is conducted by the legal consulting firm Altman Weil in conjunction with LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. The full survey is available in digital and print versions starting at a cost of $475. A summary of the survey's findings is also available.

Despite rising costs, the survey found, only a quarter of law departments formally evaluate their outside counsel. For those that do, "cost" ranks as an evaluation factor below "results" and "knowledge/expertise."

The bottom line would seem to be that there are no great suprises here. In-house counsel take the safe route in their outside hiring, meaning large firms with established reputations. The lawyers at those firms keep pushing up their rates, and law departments keep paying the toll.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 20, 2006 at 03:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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