In-house Counsel

In-house legal hiring and spending are on the upswing, surveys say

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Two new surveys point to modest gains for in-house legal departments—in terms of hiring and legal spending.

One survey found that corporate legal departments are hiring at a rate not seen since before the recession.

The survey of 70 in-house legal departments found that 59 percent of respondents hired new lawyers in the past year, up from 51 percent in 2012, and just 44 percent and 39 percent in the prior two years. A press release has details.

Only 21 percent of the respondents were planning budget cuts in the coming year, down from 24 percent in 2012, and 28 percent and 33 percent in the previous two years.

The survey by ALM Legal Intelligence is sponsored by LexisNexis CounselLink. The companies surveyed had median global revenues of $3.3 billion.

Meanwhile, another survey by HBR Consulting reports a 3 percent increase worldwide in companies’ total legal spending in 2012, according to Corporate Counsel and a press release. In-house legal spending increased 5 percent, while spending on outside counsel jumped 2 percent. The survey is based on data from 280 companies.

Lauren Chung, survey editor and senior director of law department consulting at HBR, told Corporate Counsel that the survey also showed modest spending gains last year. In 2010 and 2011, however, legal departments cut legal spending.

“It’s not really sustainable for law departments to cut costs for too long,” Chung told the publication.

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