Beefing up your legal operations

Legal spend management in a downturn

Amid tech layoffs and speculation of a looming recession, the general consensus from industry surveys and social media wisdom is that legal department budgets are constricting, travel has dried up, hiring has frozen, and legal operations roles may be under threat. Against this backdrop, here are our top reasons why chief legal officers may want to think carefully before wielding the scalpel too deeply around legal operations.

Driving value and efficiency

Legal operations can seem an appealing target when evaluating where to save in legal department budgets. If in-house legal departments are considered overhead, because they don’t directly generate revenue for core business, legal operations risks the perception of being another overhead layer on top of that—typically an unsafe place to be in any company.

Unlike attorneys and legal professionals—who are visible to business clients while working on contracts, disputes, and generally supporting business needs—legal operations professionals work behind the scenes on the critical, but frequently unnoticed, operational scaffolding that enables the work of legal professionals.


During unfavorable economic times, legal operations can be viewed as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

This article is reprinted with the publisher’s permission from Bloomberg Law Published March 8, 2023.
Copyright 2023 Bloomberg Industry Group 800-372-1033. For further use please visit guidelines-copyright/”
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Jessica McGarity Smith
Senior Manager | Legal Business Services Practice
Deloitte Tax LLP

Steven Walker
Managing Director | Legal business Services Practice
Deloitte Tax LLP
+1 973 602 5408

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