CLIENTS will resort to "draconian" measures in order to bring down costs, they now admit.
In an annual meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel, based in the United States, it was revealed that reducing legal spend is in-house counsels' top priority.
Several sessions at the meeting were dedicated to helping in-house lawyers get more value from their external firms, local magazine Legal Week reports.
Jeffrey Carr, general counsel of a technology company in the US, talked about how companies can use more alternative fee arrangements, Legal Week reported. But he admits it is not an easy task.
"Once you decide to go down this path, there's only one question you need to ask law firms," he said.
"Will you do this? Yes or no. If they say no, they are free to work elsewhere. Draconian? Yes. Effective? Absolutely. But it does take some backbone."
According to reports, panelists at the even said that finding providers willing to be creative is not difficult. But they noted that in-house lawyers have to build a support network with strong leadership internally, starting from the top down.
In-house teams should publicise success stories, one panelist suggested, and spread the word that alternative fees work.
Defenders of the billable hour are increasingly scarce, but overcoming resistance to change is always a challenge. Janine Dascenzo, associate general counsel at General Electric suggested the way to overcome resistance is to reward people who do it well. "You don't reward people who don't."