The survey revealed that 51% of the respondents will implement or have implemented salary freezes for law department staff, 11% are considering salary freezes and 38% have no immediate plans to implement salary freezes at the time of the survey.
According to the survey results, 63% of the respondents have no plans to reduce the number of lawyers, 30% implemented or will implement a reduction in lawyers and 7% are considering a reduction. In regards to reducing support staff, ''59% of the companies have no plans to reduce the number of support staff, 29% implemented or will implement a reduction and 11% are considering a reduction. When the respondents were questioned about an increase in the use of contract/temporary staff, ''73% of the companies have no plans to increase the use of contract/temporary staff, only 13% have increased the use of contract/temporary staff and 14% are considering this option.''
Lauren Chung, the survey's editor commented that ''compensation for in-house counsel will undergo significant change in the coming year. Over the past several years, in-house attorneys have been receiving an annual 6 (percent) to 8 percent median increase in total cash compensation. We do not anticipate annual increases at these levels over the next year or so.”
In addition to salary reduction considerations, 82% of the respondents said that they are planning on reducing or have reduced their law department travel budget, 8% are considering reducing their travel budget while only 10% reported that they don't plan to reduce their travel budget.
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Another area to feel effects of cost reduction measures is departmental budgets for meetings and training events of legal staff with ''77% of the companies reporting indicating that they have or will reduce their budget for meeting and training events, 7% are considering this measure and only 16% have no plans to reduce budget for these events.''
In early January of this year, Hildebrandt Baker Robbins, predicted that law firm mergers are likely to slow in 2010 after following an 'active pace' in 2009. Last year, the U.S. legal industry saw 57 completed mergers and acquisitions compared to 55 in 2008.
According to the corporate website, Hildebrandt Baker Robbins ''is a multidisciplinary consulting firm, helping law firms, legal departments and other professional service organizations plan, implement and measure key strategic, management, operations and technology goals.''
For complete survey results, visit: www.lawdepartmentsurvey.com.