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Corporate Law Departments

LDO Index shows cost control still occupying the minds of corporate law department leaders: Podcast

William Josten  Senior Manager, Enterprise Content - Legal, Thomson Reuters Institute

· 5 minute read

William Josten  Senior Manager, Enterprise Content - Legal, Thomson Reuters Institute

· 5 minute read

In a new podcast, we discuss the recent "LDO Index" report to determine what is utmost on the minds of corporate law departments' operational leaders as they look to the year ahead

Controlling costs within their corporate law department is chief in the minds of legal operations professionals this year, according to the Thomson Reuters Institute’s Legal Department Operations (LDO) Index, released in mid-October.

Despite cost control being top of mind, however, executing on this goal is no mean feat.

In a new Thomson Reuters Institute Insights podcast, available on the Thomson Reuters Institute channel, we discuss what the LDO Index, an annual look at the state of affairs within corporate legal departments from those professionals tasked with managing the operations, says about department leaders’ thinking in the current environment. This year’s report compiled a wide range of responses from 107 different companies, from small businesses to those making in excess of $10 billion in annual revenue.

As the podcast looks into the key findings of the Index report, it sheds great light on where law department leaders are seeing their greatest challenges and opportunities. For example, the Index report showed that matter volumes are increasing for the vast majority of responding law departments, even as they cope with flat budgets.

You can access the latest Thomson Reuters Institute Insights podcast, featuring a discussion about the recent LDO Index report, here.

Indeed, few law departments report adding lawyer headcount. The end result is a situation where perhaps the only option to deal with the increasing workload is to send more work to outside legal counsel, even as those external law firms continue to raise rates.

Again, as discussed in the podcast, this is not an easy situation for corporate law departments to manage.

To help shed some light on some of the pain points as well as possible solutions, the Thomson Reuters Institute Insights podcast invited a panel of experts to join us from among the membership of the Legal Value Network (LVN), which partnered on the LDO Index. The Legal Value Network is a group of professionals with the mission to accelerate evolution in the legal industry, connecting business of law professionals from across the legal industry who are focused on designing, building, and implementing innovative models of legal service delivery.

In this week’s podcast, we speak to:

  • Alexandra Guajardo, a pricing an analytics officer with Shell’s legal operations team. With her 20 years of experience in the legal industry, Guajardo functions as the right hand of the legal ops team at Shell.
  • Justin Ergler, director of alternative fee intelligence and analytics at GlaxoSmithKline. An outspoken critic of the billable hour, Ergler has established himself as a thought leader and expert in the use of alternative fee arrangements for complex legal matters.
  • Keith Maziarek, director of pricing and legal project management at Katten Muchin Rosenman. Bringing his 20 years’ experience focusing on strategic growth and profitability initiatives, Maziarek seeks to bring the voice of the client into his firm and helps guide firm strategy towards sustained profitability.

As the podcast illuminates, how corporate law departments control costs is an involved and complicated topic, with nearly innumerable necessary components. This podcast features a great discussion from both the in-house and law firm side of the equation and in doing so, reaches a key conclusion: No matter which steps a corporation or law firm may decide to take, three things are indispensable — transparency, communication, and trusting relationships.

Without those, controlling costs will become much more difficult, if not an impossible task.

For more from the Legal Value Network, you can follow their podcast, Off the Clock

Episode transcript.

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