Train your lawyers well, and it will pay off in cost containment, says Gartner survey

Training—it’s a pain, right? You hire lawyers for your legal department who already know how to do their jobs, correct.

Er, not so much. And according to a recent survey, departments that invest the time and money to train their lawyers end up doing more work in-house—and it costs less to do that, too.

 In fact, says Gartner, cost-effective legal departments allocate almost twice as much of their in-house budget to training than higher-cost peers. The most cost-effective legal departments, it says, commit to a strategy of continuous improvement of their in-house capabilities, including training, standardizing legal work, and allocating more of their total legal work in house.

For the report, Gartner says it surveyed more than 140 companies across geography, industry and revenue to determine the drivers of cost-effective legal departments. “Legal departments have a tendency to hand off complex work to outside counsel, but organizations can achieve significant cost savings by bringing this work in house,” said Michael Mayfield, research director in Gartner’s Legal & Compliance practice. “The rate for an in-house attorney is likely going to be significantly less than what outside counsel will bill.”

Beyond achieving cost savings, Mayfield explained there can be additional benefits to executing such work within the legal department: “Bringing strategic, complex work in-house can actually improve the quality of legal services because your in-house staff are more familiar with business operations. Having a staff member that is an informed, ‘go-to’ contact for a strategic matter can help build stronger relationships with your business clients.”

Gartner would love it if you became a paying member; that gives customers full access to the report. For a summary, go here.

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