I enjoyed this excellent assessment of the current commercial legal market in Legal Business yesterday, focused on in-house legal departments.
It is the first time I have seen in a mainstream publication reference to attraction and retention of talent as a reason for corporates trying to keep more interesting and complex legal work in-house.
This seems to me to be a fairly new phenomenon. In the past, the career rationale for moving in-house was predominantly down to the more commercial environment - getting closer to the business and, of course, doing away with billing targets - than the legal intellectual challenge. At the same time, the top legal talent was perceived only to be available in private practice, necessitating the outsourcing of the complex and high-value work,
This is an interesting development and adds a new dimension to what is becoming something of a heated competition between in-house and private practice for top legal talent.
the best in-house legal teams are seizing influence, technical skills and budget, largely from their service providers. This is particularly notable when it comes to managing their people. High-flying GCs are obsessive about talent and retention. This is largely why they strive to retain interesting work in-house: cost-saving is merely a justification, the primary reason is to motivate and develop their talent with engaging work.