Procurement is having a “profound and lasting impact” on the purchase of legal services for the world’s largest companies, according to the US-based Buying Legal Council.
Launching its new survey, the 2018 “Buying Legal Services Survey – Insights into Legal Procurement”, the Council examined the purchasing behaviour of 153 legal procurement professionals, focusing on purchasing decisions, cost control, analyses and trends.
The survey results showed, ultimately, that legal procurement is changing the way companies do business.
With procurement’s involvement, companies save 14.6 per cent of legal spend, and when procurement is well-aligned and works in tandem with the in-house legal team, companies save an average of 21 per cent.
Reflecting on the survey results, Council executive director Dr Silvia Hodges Silverstein said clients are now equipped with tools and data, and with senior management’s backing, legal procurement has gained significant traction.
“When procurement teams pair with the general counsel and legal department, the costs go down and the effectiveness goes up,” she explained.
“The survey shows the savings can be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Further, the survey demonstrates that legal procurement “is no longer an unchartered territory”, the Council proclaimed, with the majority of legal spend now under some form of review and active spend management.
Relationship-only business approaches to buying and selling legal services is now a minority, the Council noted, having been replaced by a professional, business-driven approach to service bartering.
For law firms and in-house legal teams, the pressure is thus greater than ever. It is both a threat and an opportunity for the legal profession, the Council noted.
“Winners will respond and deliver better results at lower costs,” it said in a statement.
In light of this, the Council said, now is the time to begin investing in the procurement journey, for those who haven’t yet done so.
“It takes time to drive value: quick stints in the legal category are insufficient,” the Council concluded.
“Legal procurement professionals contribute the most after five years of buying legal services.”
Jerome Doraisamy is a senior writer for Lawyers Weekly and Wellness Daily. He is also the author of The Wellness Doctrines book series, an admitted solicitor in NSW, an adjunct lecturer at The University of Western Australia and is a board director of Minds Count.