Image is everything: In-house legal panels and budgets
What do clients really think of firms' cultures and their lawyers, and which firms do they use? The in-house lawyers that Lawyers Weekly spoke to have a range of firms on their legal panels and
What do clients really think of firms' cultures and their lawyers, and which firms do they use? The in-house lawyers that Lawyers Weeklyspoke to have a range of firms on their legal panels and an even wider range of budgets.
Telstra tops the legal spend for organisations mentioned here, with a figure of $40 million to $60 million for the current year. This figure varies depending on "whether we have big litigation", Will Irving, group general counsel of Telstra, says.
The five main firms on Telstra's legal panel are Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Freehills, Blake Dawson, Gilbert + Tobin and Deacons, and Irving says a number of other firms also undertake specialist work, such as Henry Davis York, Arnold Bloch Liebler and Davies Collison Cave.
At around $20 million a year, the Department of Finance and Deregulation has the third-largest spend of a Federal Government
department behind Defence and Immigration, according to the department's special counsel, Bruce Brown.
The department's legal panel is comprised of firms including Clayton Utz, DLA Phillips Fox, Minter Ellison, Blake Dawson, Australian Government Solicitors, Deacons, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Sparke Helmore, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Moray & Agnew.
While Stuart Thomas, general counsel and COO of Macquarie Radio Network, is coy about revealing the company's legal spend, he says it is "in the hundreds of thousands, and not the millions". He says this figure "varies dramatically because a lot of our work is defendant-based, so the spend from year to year is not strictly budgeted".
Macquarie Radio Network uses Baker & McKenzie and Banki Haddock Fiora, a commercial firm which specialises in intellectual property and media law, for its legal work.