Robert H. Smith School of Business
Capital Business
Posted at 05:49 PM ET, 01/15/2012

Capital Business recently hosted a roundtable with several chief legal officers to discuss the challenges their departments are facing. Here are excerpts from that conversation:

(All photos by Jeffrey MacMillan)

“Five to 10 years ago, costs were out of control because they weren’t being managed. I don’t know if a lot of companies back then managed their legal fees like they do [now] ... If you know more, and you’re more efficient, you use outside counsel less. So we do a lot of shared services work, HR work and small contracting rather than use outside counsel.”

“We’re willing to take on more risk because we need to bring in business. You need to be aggressive and get that business or there isn’t a future. You can have a safe approach and no business. Or you can take on more risk.”

“Many rogue Web sites are selling our software. Consumers are calling in all the time trying to return pirated software. It’s been a huge issue for my team. What keeps me up at night is the customer confusion created ... that’s why we’ve been trying to move toward the cloud. I built an enforcement team of three full-time anti-piracy professionals [non-lawyers with background in IT and software development].”

“It’s not just about getting a discount, it’s about a partnership ... A willingness to work with me on alternative fee arrangements, and transparency on fees.”

“Part of my outside spend is sheer overflow — I can’t do it all. I’ve hired [a second attorney] to reduce outside counsel spend. We’ve started doing more preventative lawyering, going out to our community of scholars and people who support scholars, and educating them on basic things like, ‘What’s a contract and why does it have to be in writing?’”

“We’ve been facing and will continue to face an increasing volume of regulations designed to keep government contractors clean, honest, efficient and as inexpensive as possible ... In this coming year, I continue to devote an extraordinary amount of time to understanding and implementing the new laws and regulations governing contractors.”

By  |  05:49 PM ET, 01/15/2012

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