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It's no secret that the legal profession has been slow to cultivate and support a diverse workforce. Law is one of the whitest, most male-dominated professions, losing to the medical, engineering, and even tech industries when it comes to diversity.

Yet, many in-house legal departments are faced with corporate diversity initiatives which seek to strengthen diversity within the company and its partners. Here's how CGs can help accomplish those goals, helping to lead the way to a more diverse legal profession despite barriers in the industry.

Even as the legal market begins to improve, law firms are losing out to in-house legal departments, a recent survey has found. The legal consulting company Altman Weil surveyed chairs and partners at more than 300 U.S. firms with over 50 lawyers.

Their report found that almost all firms acknowledge that competition from non-traditional sources is here to stay. But the biggest competition is coming from clients themselves, as businesses in-source legal work.

A few weeks ago, a survey of international General Counsels showed that almost half of in-house legal teams used a competitive bidding process when hiring outside counsel. That's a big jump from previous years, up 14 percent, but still surprisingly low.

If you're one of the half of GCs who haven't yet embraced competitive bidding, you should. Here's why:

A survey of international General Counsels by TerraLex, a legal referral company, shines some light into what GCs look for when they hire outside counsel -- and how much law firms will have to improve to keep them satisfied.

The survey gathered input from 127 chief legal officers companies based in the United States and abroad. Its results highlight the importance of outside counsel in aiding with regulatory compliance and the frustrations many GCs face from law firms lack of industry expertise and expensive billing practices.

Everyone needs an extra hand now and then. Especially in-house attorneys. Taking on outside counsel can help a legal department balance its existing work with new obligations, and add specialized expertise where needed.

Finding a good match isn't easy, however. About 30 percent of in-house counsel let their outside counsel go every year. You don't have to be one of them though -- if you pick well. Here's three common mistakes GCs make when hiring outside counsel:

Hiring Outside Counsel? 5 Things to Consider

The decision whether to hire outside counsel is fraught with anxiety. Which firm? How much to pay? How much to have the outside firm do? It's like hiring a new employee (except you're hiring dozens of them).

Hiring an outside firm doesn't need to be stress-inducing. Just keep calm, take a breath, and consider these five ideas when making the leap.

For GCs, Is LinkedIn the New Golf Course?

Whether or not LinkedIn seems like a good idea -- and even if you don't know what you're supposed to be using it for -- in-house lawyers seem to love it. According to a survey by research firm Acritas, 43 percent of female GCs and 33 percent of male GCs are on LinkedIn.

That's a large proportion of GCs -- especially for women. So what's the deal with in-house counsel using LinkedIn so much? Has LinkedIn, as Acritas suggests, become the new "golf course" when it comes to making deals?

Survey Confirms: In-House Spending Up, Outside Spending Down

We've known for a long time that companies are just exhausted from paying $500 an hour for a BigLaw firm they don't need so that senior partners can spend the day golfing. Now there are some numbers to back this up.

Inside Counsel recently reported on an HBR Consulting survey showing that, even as legal spending in total increased 2 percent over last year, inside spending increased 5 percent while outside counsel spending decreased by 2 percent.

Nelson-Smith Wins In-House Lawyer of the Year, Makes Us Hungry

How do you define the role of the modern in-house lawyer? It's probably some amalgamation of legal counsel, reputation manager, data security watchdog, and consigliore to the board. This person should also, of course, be good at watching the bottom line and reigning in outside counsel costs.

At this year's "The Lawyer" Awards (sponsored by Thomson Reuters, our parent company), the UK publication sought to recognize someone who excelled at the jack-of-all-trades role. Who did they pick for In-House Attorney of the Year? Sarah Nelson-Smith of Yum! Restaurants, the parent company of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.

Are You Being Rate-Jacked By Outside Counsel?

"Churn that bill, baby!"

Those words, possibly spoken in jest, made a lot of in-house counselors shiver. After all, controlling the bills for outside counsel is one of your main duties. But, the bigger the case, the harder it is to keep track of escalating costs.

Are you being charged market rate? Are the bumps in compensation for associates assigned to the case legitimate, or are you being gouged?