New report from ACC and ML&A about the legal sector

The Association of Corporate Counsel and Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Legal Benchmarking Survey provides benchmarking data for leaders of finance-related legal departments. The survey is conducted annually, and this time, the third report found a shift in the distribution of in-house legal spending, driven largely by smaller firms.

In addition, compared to last year, more departments moved work in-house in the areas of due diligence, labour and employment, legal research and intellectual property.

“As organisations face the challenge of preparing for the future and navigating current market dynamics, benchmarking is a prevalent tool to effectively provide leaders with insight and build a plan towards performance improvement using actionable peer data. We are excited to leverage this data to help our clients grow and improve”, said Gregory Richter, Partner and Vice President of ML&A’s Retained Search and Advisory Services.

On the other hand, the survey shows that there was a shift in legal spend, with departments spending more internally than externally (54% of legal spend internally) compared to the 2021 survey, which skewed slightly towards more external spend (51% on average spent externally towards 49% internally).

The survey also reflected that departments turn to external providers for other tasks, particularly for discovery, with only 68% handling data collection in-house and less than half (45%) handling data hosting and processing. Also, 44% of departments outsource data collection to external lawyers and 58% outsource data hosting and processing.

In terms of diversity, 29% track internal diversity metrics or have targets with respect to department composition, the same as last year. Although the number of those tracking diversity with respect to the composition of their outside counsel is lower (21%), it is three points higher than in 2021.

Number of Legal Staff Based on Number of Lawyers

These findings are based on responses from 427 legal departments in organizations spanning 24 industries, 26 countries and all company sizes.

The executive summary and full survey results are available to everyone:

Irina Wakstein