22 August 2017

Iberian legal departments cut back on law firm usage

Legal department budgets in Spain and Portugal have reduced external counsel usage.

Legal departments in Spain and Portugal are outsourcing less work to external law firms than they did a year ago due to financial constraints, according to research from Iberian Lawyer. A survey of in-house lawyers in Iberia revealed that 61 per cent are outsourcing less of their legal department's work to law firms than they were 12 months previously.The survey showed that 85 per cent of in-house lawyers in Spain and Portugal pass less than 30 per cent of their legal work to law firms. Only two per cent of respondents said they outsource the majority (more than 50 per cent) of their legal work to external lawyers.

Financial constraints

However, though most general counsel are passing less work to external lawyers, the picture when it comes to in-house legal department budgets is mixed, the survey showed. Nearly half (48 per cent) of in-house lawyers who responded to the survey said there had been no change to their department's budget in the last year whilst 26 per cent said budgets were smaller, though the same proportion said their budget was actually higher than it was a year ago. Two in three of the respondents of those spending less attributed it to organisational financial constraints.