Legal departments spend more

Corporate legal departments appear ever so slightly to be easing up on the cost cutting that has ruled their world since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Newtown Square based legal consultant Altman Weil says a survey of chief legal officers shows 56 percent modestly increased legal department budgets this year. That’s up from 51 percent of CLOs the year before. The increases in spending were slightly higher as well. Among CLOs who increased spending, the median expenditure grew by seven percent. The number in 2010 was six percent.

Some 46 percent increased outside legal expenditures, compared with 43 percent in the preceding year.

“These are not big changes,” says Altman Weil principal Daniel J. DiLucchio.  “It is the shift of direction that’s interesting as it may signal some softening of the hard line on spending that corporate law departments embraced in the last few years.”

For the study, Altman Weil surveyed 1,355 corporate law departments in October, receiving 176 responses.