Australian companies bring lawyers in-house in cost-cutting effort

August 31, 2011 Australian companies are diverting funds from law firm fees to bulking up their in-house counsel in a bid to rein in costs and tighten budgets, according to a new survey of 374 corporate counsel across over 20 industries. The report was produced by law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques in partnership with general counsel at NAB, AMP, Wesfarmers and Westfield.

Survey respondents nominated cost reduction as one of the main drivers for the steady growth of their legal departments, says the report. The report also cited more onerous regulatory requirements as a key driver of the change.

Mallesons partner Jason Watts said: "Given Australia's complex regulatory landscape, large organisations are increasingly depending on their corporate counsel, often requiring more than just legal advice. As a result, the in-house legal function is one of the few business functions to grow during and post GFC," said Watts.


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