Canadian Lawyer

February 2021

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Page 18 of 35 17 said the changes were related to isolated, one-off situations that led to higher fees (which arguably could also have been a result of the pandemic). Satin notes that the expertise that in-house lawyers wanted from the firm often had to come from senior lawyers or partners. "It was easier and more efficient when it came to making a judgment call," she says, as decisions often had to be made very quickly. As the relationship partner for corporate clients at Blakes, Satin says that, often, general counsel would "just come to me and say, 'I need to know this — who is the person who can get me the answer and put me in touch with that person?'" "There was a sense of urgency in the early stages, much of it related to questions that needed a higher level of expertise to answer." Cheryl Satin, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP less than $100,000 rose to 12.12 from 10.95 per cent in 2019, while the percentage of departments spending between $501,000 and $1 million rose to 13.64 from 11.68 per cent. As well, 7.58 per cent of respondents answered that their firms spent between $3.1 million and $5 million, compared to 4.38 per cent in 2019. The percentage of respondents who said their firms spent between $5.1 and $10 million jumped to 6.06 from 2.19 per cent, while those who said their firms spent more than $10 million grew to 3.03 per cent, up from 2.92 per cent the previous year. Only two categories saw a decrease — the $501,000-to-$1-million tier dropped to 22.73 from 24.09 per cent and the $1.1-million-to-$3-million tier dropped to 15.15 from 21.9 per cent. To further underscore how much COVID- 19 impacted corporate counsel's change in legal spending, 30 per cent of respondents said issues related to the pandemic were the main reason for the change in spending. That was just behind the 38 per cent who Graham Ross, chief client officer at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), says in-house counsel needed special expertise to help them understand situations related to COVID-19. Still, they also needed more general "practical advice" from the law firms. Corporate clients wanted a way to keep ahead of the fast and furious pace of changes that seemed to come every day, Ross says, as governments trying to deal with the pandemic and its fallout made changes on the fly. This situation meant firms such as his quickly had to develop workarounds to help in-house clients even though most staff were working from home. It also meant harnessing the power of technology to keep them informed, APPROXIMATELY WHAT WAS THE EXTERNAL LEGAL SPEND FOR THE CANADIAN LEGAL DEPARTMENT IN YOUR LAST FISCAL YEAR? 25 20 15 10 5 0 $100,000 or less $101,000 to $500,000 $501,000 to $1 million $1 million to $3 million $3.1 million to $5 million $5.1 million to $10 million More than $10 million Prefer not to answer/ don't know 12.12% 22.73% 13.64% 15.15% 7.58% 6.06% 3.03% 19.70% HOW MANY LAW FIRMS ARE YOU USING? 2.99% 0 10.45% 1 to 2 38.81% 3 to 5 34.33% 6 to 10 7.46% 11 to 15 5.97% 15+

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