Unless you are finishing up a two-year corporate counsel stint at a remote company in rural Antarctica, you are probably pretty well-versed in the language of the recession that has taken hold of news headlines, board-room meetings, and dinner-table conversations. Scaling back, laying off, flat-fee billing, in-house eDiscovery ---these have been the recent buzz words in legal departments across nation.
Well, now there are a few numbers to back up the in-house recessionary fodder. Hildebrandt International has released its annual Hildebrandt Law Department Survey, which provides benchmarking data for U.S. and global law departments.
Here are a few highlights from Hildebrandt's findings:
- Nearly a third of the companies expect a decrease in the number of law firms they will use in the U.S. Only 8% plan to increase the number of firms engaged.
- The average increase in base salary for the in-house attorney was 3%, down from 5% reported in the 2008 Survey.
- Over half (56%) of the participants indicated that they are engaged in convergence activities.
- For the first time in many years of tracking the issue, the Survey shows an increasing number of law departments adopting or expressing interest in alternative billing arrangements.
- 42% of companies predict an increase in demand for Bankruptcy services.
The survey involved 231 companies from 21 industries including 22% of Fortune 500 companies. No word if any of the companies surveyed are located in rural Antarctica.