Companies are always cautious about expanding law department headcount. But the three drivers required for hiring are all in place:
- Revenue growth.
- Employee growth generally.
- A continuing desire to reduce outside legal spend and bill analysis, supporting greater use of in-house counsel.
Beyond that three-part recipe for expansion, let me add a counter-intuitive fourth reason for making a hire—technology. Software and analytics save tremendous amounts of lawyer time. But companies have already spent the past several years making that transition. The vendors who provide excellent case management and contracts management tools have made millions, and law departments now enjoy new levels of efficiency. Although I don’t profess to be a technology guru, I track these developments closely enough to suggest that new efficiency gains will be incremental now for a few years and not revolutionary. In other words, IBM’s Watson is not quite ready to replace your carbon breathing staff attorneys.
Yes, all of this sounds self-serving. But I challenge you to find a similar column or blog from me within the past 10 years. If anything, I often point out the barriers to headcount growth. I even added a complementary secondment service five years ago to help clients facing resistance to new headcount. I understand that lobbying for law department growth is not easy and you have to pick the right spot for doing so.
If you would like benchmarking data to help with your lobbying effort, please give me a call. We can help, and we don’t charge for that kind of information.
And when you get the green light to make a new hire, please consider using Evers Legal. Mention this column, and I will shave $10,000 off any new order placed within Q1 of 2015.
Happy New Year!