Taking control of outside legal spending

A recent article from The Lawyers Weekly highlighted a topic very near and dear to our hearts: doing and/or getting more for less.  According to a survey released by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), corporate legal departments are being asked to do more work without an increase in their budgets, but in turn are gaining more control of their spending on outside counsel.

Between 2000 and 2009, the ratio of outside legal spending to inside spending decreased by 32%.  In-house counsel are also taking more control over how they’re being charged: between 2000 and 2009, there was a 71% increase in a requirement for discounts from standard rates.

A recent discussion on the Patently-O blog indicated that this trend is occurring with foreign filing work as well.  One reader submitted an observation that large clients of his firm are now demanding lower patent prosecution rates, regardless of their budgets.  These demands occur amid the reality that there are many patent attorneys willing to do the work at lower rates.

“Not sure why this is a surprise,” commented another, “It’s supply and demand.  The company has many options and can thus make demands.”

These conversations echo what we hear from our clients, who have chosen to file with inovia in order to reduce the administration and cost of European patent validation and PCT national stage entry.  While many of our clients are companies that may have reduced IP budgets, over half of our clients are law firms who are responding to their clients’ demand for lower rates.

For more ideas on “doing more with less”:


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