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Companies committed to lowering outside legal costs, survey says

More corporate legal departments have bigger budgets than a year ago, but they’re more determined than ever to contain costs from outside law firms.

Altman Weil, a Newtown Square-based consulting firm, surveyed chief legal officers nationwide and found that 46 increased their 2012 budgets compared to 2011.

However, 71 percent are renegotiating outside counsel fees, 47 percent brought work inside, 41 percent are moving work to lower-priced firms and 36 percent reduced the total amount of work sent to outside counsel, all in the name of operating more cost-effectively.

The study polled 1,297 corporate law departments and drew 204 responses, or 16 percent. Although Pittsburgh companies were part of the field, a regional breakout was not available.

Lori Carpenter, president of Downtown-based recruitment firm Carpenter Legal Search, said corporate clients are “definitely looking at hiring more lawyers” next year.

“We’ve been involved in a number of discussions for budget-planning purposes for 2013,” she said. “Some are doing succession planning and have not made any hires in the past couple years. Some are looking to add expertise. I think we’re seeing a lot of corporate commercial positions, often that’s something the lawyers need to be very close to the business in order to draft and review documents.”

Read More: Companies committed to lowering outside legal costs, survey says - by Patty Tascarella, Pittsburgh Business Times

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