Savine Employment Law Is Ready For The Future Because We’ve Lived It
By Gary Savine
A recent article in Law360presented the results of a new global report that shows more in-house lawyers, especially employment lawyers, will be launching job searches in the coming years, due, in part, to advances in legal technology. Conducted by Euromoney Thought Leadership Consulting on behalf of EY Law, the report found that 74 percent of companies surveyed either have or are willing to consider outsourcing day-to-day employment law work, as part of a projected mass outsourcing effort across the private sector to cut corporate legal function costs.
The report, which can be found here, cited several reasons businesses are poised to abandon their in-house employment attorney in favor of outside providers, including:
- Difficulty managing the hefty (and growing) salaries required to lure lawyers in-house;
- Challenges finding lawyers in private practice who possess the necessary non-legal skills required to navigate the in-house environment effectively, including the ability to manage stakeholders and projects, and “commerciality” (i.e. ability to think with a business mindset);
- Growing unease, particularly among smaller businesses, over preparedness for regulatory changes; and
- Increased recognition that certain “routine” work (employment law included) takes up an outsized percentage (up to 27 percent on average) of total in-house law staff hours, which interfered with focus on more strategic work tied to business goals.
The handwriting has been on the wall for some time. In 2012, I abandoned an in-house career because I had already begun to see these forces shrinking the in-house legal market, and creating opportunity for business-minded outside lawyers with in-house pedigrees. When I started my firm, I asked myself what I could do to make my firm competitive, not only with other firms, but also with in-house counsel.
I knew general counsels and CHROs would begin leveraging technology, including machine learning, e-training tools, and cloud-based record keeping, to shed their businesses of expensive in-house legal staff in favor of partnering with independent outside counsel with business and HR experience.
It was obvious that businesses spent too much on in-house solutions for their day-to-day employment law needs. I believed that technology could enable a small law firm to offer corporate legal and HR teams the same high level of connectedness they have with their General Counsel’s office, but at a cost significantly less than what they were paying their in-house staff.
Since then, the firm has created a platform that can support businesses’ HR law needs on a scale-able (even global) basis, led by a team with the business experience to build the trust of key stakeholders, and priced substantially less than larger firms with similar experience.
Companies Forecast Reduced In-House Legal Spending, by Michele Gorman, Law360, June 24, 2019.
Gary Savine is an Illinois employment lawyer and founder of Savine Employment Law, Ltd. in Chicago. Gary regularly advises Human Resources professionals on recently enacted employment laws.
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