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The Mad Clientist

Value Trumps Cost Control as Corporate Counsel’s Top Goal—Corporate Counsel’s 7-Year Itch

By June 5, 2013April 16th, 2020No Comments

For each of the 6 years prior to 2013, corporate counsel’s top goal was to control legal costs. The 7-year itch struck in 2013—cost control dropped to number 2. The number of corporate counsel who now see delivering value as their top goal soared to 31.8% from 18.7% last year[1].



These corporate counsel seek to add value to the business by adopting new tactics to meet their goal, including:  

  • Redefining strategies to obtain permits and regulatory approvals faster
  • Planning for acquisitions before the business units engage in talks
  • Sitting on R&D committees to spot IP opportunities earlier
  • Developing settlement decision trees to get to resolution faster
  • Redesigning legal work flows—often with law firms

The quest for value drives corporate counsel to look for bigger savings—the kind rarely achieved by rate cuts. Helping clients meet the value goal demands new thinking—clients know the savings from  changes in their department’s behavior will dwarf savings from cutting law firm rates.  

The brave and savvy law firms are jumping on the value bandwagon with great gusto. These law firms offer detailed risk assessments and contingency plans, develop new, more streamlined work flows, develop online work plans with clients and offer client feedback on how clients can change their own approach. These changes may seem bold and even counterintuitive now—but will be part of the landscape in the years ahead. You can start now with your favorite client.

The good news is you can help those 21.2% of corporate counsel who still see control cost as their top goal with many of the same tactics you would use to help clients deliver value. 


[1] Based on BTI research conducted from March 2012 to September 2012. BTI conducted more than 300 independent, individual interviews with CLOs and General Counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations. 

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