find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
In-house teams grow to battle cost and regulation

In-house teams grow to battle cost and regulation

In-house legal teams are growing as companies attempt to rein in costs and tighten budgets, a new survey of 374 corporate counsel has revealed.

IN-HOUSE legal teams are growing as companies attempt to rein in costs and tighten budgets, a new survey of 374 corporate counsel across more than 20 industries has revealed. 


The new report by law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, produced in partnership with general counsel at NAB, AMP, Wesfarmers and Westfield, shows that cost pressures and increasing regulatory responsibilities are driving growth of in-house teams.


Survey respondents nominated cost reduction as one of the main drivers for the steady growth of their legal departments says the report, released today. 


Respondents expect this trend to continue and 94 per cent expect stable or increased in-house legal teams over the next three years.


However, the report's general counsel survey partners at NAB, AMP, Wesfarmers and Westfield, argued larger in-house teams do not automatically reduce costs. 


An equally effective approach is to maintain a relatively small in-house team of very senior lawyers who work closely with a range of firms depending on the nature and complexity of the work involved, they said. 


A heightened regulatory environment has also driven the size increase of in-house legal teams, according to the report. It said regulatory and compliance work ranks highly as one of the key responsibilities for corporate counsel.


Mallesons partners, Jason Watts and Joseph Muraca, led the project and say that corporate Australia has never had to rely on its corporate counsel as much as it does now.


"Given Australia's complex regulatory landscape, large organisations are increasingly depending on their corporate counsel, often requiring more than just legal advice. As a result, the in-house legal function is one of the few business functions to grow during and post GFC," said Watts.


Muraca said diverse responsibilities are putting increasing pressure on corporate counsel.


“From handling day-to-day legal work, to managing large teams, complex matters and stakeholder engagement, corporate counsel are stretched.  And with the rise of class actions and increased regulatory investigations, companies rely on corporate counsel more than ever to mitigate legal risk and protect directors who are increasingly in the firing line.


“Over 40 per cent of our survey respondents said they had been subject to a regulatory investigation in the past year,” Muraca said.


The survey partners suggest that increasing segmentation of the legal market has also contributed to growing in-house legal teams. 


"Sophisticated corporates are assessing what types of work can be more effectively and efficiently conducted in house, where industry specific experience can be developed by those with a deeper day-to-day knowledge of the organisation’s operations," they said. 


The prospect of future growth within in-house legal teams appears most likely in the mining industry where 70 per cent of respondents expect their legal teams to increase in size, with “business growth” stated as the key reason.


Mallesons' inaugural report, Compass 2011, focuses on the issues facing Australia's corporate counsel. Of the 374 respondents, 44 per cent were general counsel and 45 per cent were in the ASX 200.








Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

In-house teams grow to battle cost and regulation
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Debate, same-sex marriage, Law Society
Sep 21 2017
Law Society acknowledges ‘diversity of opinion’ on same-sex marriage
The council of the Law Society of NSW has said it respects the diverse views of its members on same-...
Scales of Justice
Sep 21 2017
Victoria considers legalising euthanasia
A change in law to allow voluntary assisted dying in Victoria will be considered by the State Parlia...
Old woman
Sep 21 2017
Federal government ignoring elder abuse crisis, lawyer says
A Queensland lawyer has called on federal politicians to follow the lead of the Queensland governmen...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...