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The Eternal In-House Conundrum— How To Get More Done For Less Cash

Even though the great crash of the late 2000s didn't turn out to be quite the apocalypse so many predicted, it has left the corporate world with a lasting legacy: a commitment to ever-increasing efficiency and leanness or, as the title of this piece sums it up, to get more done for less cash. If any department is free from this, we're yet to find it. Our day-to-day dealings with GCs around the globe convince us that it’s certainly the case within-house legal teams. The result of this has been an on-going trend to bring more and more work inside the company. However, even the most passionate advocate of "insourcing" will admit that there is only so far that this can go, at least if you catch them on a good day. The secret, therefore, now seems to be to work in an ever more "smart" way, managing external legal resources with greater precision to ensure that every buck, pound, euro, etc spent delivers maximum return on investment.

In a recent article in Corporate Counsel, Mark Yacano, who heads up Major, Lindsey & Africa's Managed Legal Services team, pointed out that in-house departments can even take tighter, more effective and more cost- effective control over the thorny area of litigation through holistic solutions based on a mix of outside counsel, outsourced technology and interim staffing. Mark outlined how even in a highly complex and closely regulated sector, such as pharmaceuticals, GCs can implement modular approaches that allow specialist external firms to do what they do best—applying their skills and experience to the most complex parts of a case to deliver the best result at the best price. As Mark puts it, "Modularizing large-scale litigation, such as pharmaceutical litigation, construction defect or mass product failures, drives systemic savings. The company can use less expensive resources to take on parts of the lawsuit that lend themselves to standardization and process management. When the client becomes the architect, they can impose business discipline around how litigation is managed. Modularization done right ensures every member of the team is deployed to their highest and best use".

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