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In-House Counsel

Corporate Legal Spending Expected to Drop 4.3%; Some Growth Areas Seen

Posted Oct 9, 2009 7:34 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Corporate spending on outside counsel is expected to continue to drop, but the decline likely won’t be as big as this year’s 10.8 percent reduction, a new study says.

The study by the BTI Consulting Group predicts that outside counsel spending will drop by 4.3 percent next year, the National Law Journal reports.

The good news for law firms is that some practice areas are expected to grow. The study projects that regulatory work will grow by 3.4 percent, litigation by 2.3 percent, and intellectual property by 1.4 percent.

BTI President Michael Rynowecer told the NLJ, "The fact that we're seeing a couple of practices showing a pickup would suggest that we may be nearing equilibrium, at least for the moment."

Rynowecer said companies started focusing on cost control in 2007. In 2008, average outside counsel spending was $20.8 million. It dropped to $18.5 million this year and is projected to decline to $17.7 million next year.

The study was based on 200 interviews with corporate counsel at companies with an average revenue of $21.9 billion.

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