Canadian Lawyer

February 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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20 SPECIAL REPORT CORPORATE COUNSEL SURVEY reputation or they might be known for a certain skillset, but it's those relationships with lawyers that keeps a company coming back," says Misetich Dann. Those personal interactions — remote or otherwise — will play a major factor in how legal firms deal with the trend of consolidating how many firms on which an in-house team relies. For example, in the 2020 Canadian Lawyer survey, 86.58 per cent used fewer than 10 firms, compared to 80.3 per cent in 2019, a sign that consolidation is happening, at least at the top end. "It's never going to be just one firm that is used because you need a plan B or C if there are conflicts that arise," says Satin. She adds that having more than one firm to go to "creates a bit of healthy competitive tension for pricing and staffing." At the same time, relying on many firms may not achieve the goal of getting a co-ordinated team of experts in several areas on which to rely. Ross agrees. "I think clients are taking an opportunity to consolidate or reduce the number of law firms they work with, just because it's more manageable that way." But it is not simply a numbers game, he says. "In-house counsel is realizing that they have the opportunity to find a team of experts at a few choice firms that they can connect with." "Sometimes, it is as simple as picking up the phone and calling clients and staying in close touch." James Buchan, Gowling WLG THINKING OF THE FIRM YOU OUTSOURCE TO THE MOST, HOW WELL IS IT PERFORMING IN THE FOLLOWING ATTRIBUTES? (LISTED IN ORDER OF PERFORMANCE SUCCESS) 1. Good understanding of your business 2. Have a practical approach 3. Regular communication 4. Proactive in suggesting solutions 5. Offers creative legal solutions 6. Relatively low cost 7. Diversity DOES THE GENERAL COUNSEL HAVE THE AUTONOMY TO SELECT FIRMS? 61.19% Yes, the general counsel/ legal department makes the decision 25.37% It is a shared decision with executive management/board 5.97% No, the general counsel isn't involved in the selection process 7.46% It is a shared decision with the procurement department/process WHAT ARE THE LEGAL AREAS YOU SEND TO OUTSIDE FIRMS THE MOST? Litigation Employment/labour Intellectual property Real estate Mergers & acquisitions Privacy legislation and data protection Class action Tax Regulatory matters General corporate work (contracts, etc.) Immigration Securities/corporate finance Environmental Information technology (contracts, licensing, etc.) U.S./cross-border Advertising/marketing Other Risk mitigation 72.73% 56.36% 36.36% 36.36% 36.36% 25.45% 23.64% 23.64% 23.64% 21.82% 16.36% 16.36% 14.55% 12.73% 9.09% 9.09% 9.09% 0%

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