Morning Briefing: General counsel cut back on law firm spending

General counsel are planning to cut back on law firm spending according to a new survey… Dentons, Dacheng combination formalised… ​Baker & McKenzie appoints new global M&A head…

US general counsel cut back on law firm spending
In-house legal departments in the US are planning to cut back on spending on outside law firms. The Altman Weil Chief Legal Officer Survey shows that 40 per cent of respondents plan to decrease spending on outside counsel in the next 12 months while 20 per cent plan an increase. Of those making savings, 76 per cent say they will use their own in-house teams instead, 13 per cent will use vendors and 9 per cent will opt for contract lawyers.

Some of the cuts will be due to work that is no longer required; 49 per cent said that was the case because either significant litigation had been completed or the work was no longer deemed necessary. In dealing with law firms 68 per cent of respondents said that secured discounts and 60 per cent used alternative fee arrangements.
As well as offering efficiency and lower costs 26 per cent of the CLOs said that wished that their business was better understood by outside counsel.
Dentons, Dacheng combination formalised
The long awaited formal merger of global law firm Dentons with China’s Dacheng has been completed. The partners of both firms voted for the merger in January 2015 but it has taken some months to formalize the combination. In the meantime Dentons has made a series of acquisitions. The firm will be known by the name Dentons in all languages except Chinese, where it will be known as 大成 ;the Chinese word also forms part of the firm’s logo globally. The combination creates a firm with around 6,600 lawyers and a total workforce of 11,000 across more than 125 locations in more than 50 countries.
Baker & McKenzie appoints new global M&A head
Michael DeFranco has been named as the new global chair of the M&A practice at Baker & McKenzie. The Chicago-based lawyer was made partner at the firm in 2007 and has advised many Fortune 500 companies. He will lead the international team which has been ranked 9th in the top 10 law firms for M&A by Thomson Reuters.

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