Three Very Quick Tips for Getting Control of (and Reducing) Legal Spend

In continuing on today's theme of legal cost reduction, it would be possible to write many volumes on ways of reducing legal spend -- not to mention reducing the negative relationship ramifications of excessive legalese surrounding contracting and supplier relationship management in general (thank you Mr. Cummins for educating me on this topic). But what are three quick tips for getting started today when it comes to getting control of -- and reducing -- legal spending?

First, I'd argue that it makes sense to introduce a set platform and methodology for addressing third party legal contracts throughout their lifecycle. It's finally possible to leverage many of the systems that companies are starting to introduce in the areas of services procurement to address the full lifecycle of legal spending (either for hourly, fixed-fee or more flexible types of contracting arrangements). So piggyback on either procurement, HR or IT led initiatives around services procurement if you can.

Second, segment and understand all of your legal and cost reduction opportunities just as you would a complicated direct material assembly or component. One size -- and type of relationship model -- never fits all. Dissect all elements of what you buy thoroughly, understand the demand drivers and stakeholder concerns and think through alternative cost reduction strategies besides just re-sourcing (e.g., automation, off-shoring, shared services, etc.)

Third, hire or bring in an expert or expert sourcing firm. And do so even if only for a high-level strategy and planning perspective to get all of the stakeholders on the same page. Consider both larger firms with legal sourcing experts on staff or boutiques. The size does not necessarily matter, but the domain knowledge does -- not to mention the ability to speak the language of the law department and procurement.

Jason Busch

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