Executive Summaries » Five Trends to Watch as Power, Responsibility, Shift to In-House Legal Departments

Five Trends to Watch as Power, Responsibility, Shift to In-House Legal Departments


May 24, 2013

Cost-containment and resource efficiency remain essential goals for legal departments, but are no longer the primary concern. In-house teams are increasingly taking lead roles in their work with outside firms, and general counsel are assuming more influence at the executive level, as power shifts toward in-house departments. Maturing law departments are aligning themselves with business goals and strategies, while still maintaining their traditional role of mitigating corporate risk.

The author quotes Gary Ballesteros, Rockwell Automation Vice President Law, in that regard: “Our legal department has taken on a wide variety of functions and areas that aren’t strictly ‘legal’ under the traditional way of viewing legal departments. For example, the product safety group reports to the head of our litigation group. So when there are product notices or recalls, Legal gets involved early. And on the other hand, if the litigation lawyers identify a litigation-trend or lesson learned associated with a certain product, they can quickly connect with Rockwell’s engineers.”

Other trends: Enterprise legal management software will provide mobile attorneys more information on-the-go, delivered through their mobile devices. Ease of use, device portability and intuitive functionality will be essential. There will be increasing sophistication and accountability in “Software as a Service” or SaaS-based applications. Cloud computing will increase and ultimately overtake on-premise computing. And, via the use of portals, information-sharing between corporate law departments and outside counsel will increase, creating cost savings.

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