Corporate lawyers are calling in reinforcements to tackle rising caseloads, a new survey suggests. Nearly half (45 percent) of attorneys polled said their legal departments have increased their use of outside counsel in the last 12 months, while only 12 percent said levels have decreased. Other responses indicated that 39 percent experienced no change and 4 percent did not know. Litigation support topped the list of reasons corporations recruit outside counsel, followed by compliance and regulatory matters, and patent issues.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 attorneys among the largest corporations in the United States and Canada. All respondents have at least three years of experience in the legal field.
Lawyers also were asked, "What types of projects, if any, are you most likely to assign to outside counsel?" Their responses: litigation 66 percent, compliance and regulatory matters 16 percent, patent issues 13 percent, electronic discovery 9 percent, mergers and/or acquisitions 3 percent, other 5 percent, none/do not use outside counsel 4 percent, and don't know 1 percent. Respondents were allowed more than one answer.