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Multinational companies bringing lawyers in-house

Posted by: Laurence Simons 16/04/13

Global businesses are looking to bring more specialist in-house lawyers under their wing in a bid to cut down on the costs accrued by getting involved in major legal disputes, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Queen Mary Law School.

Legal disputes are on the up in the current climate - and while it may be difficult to fathom the motivations of executives in many ways, one unavoidable certainty is that they do not like spending money when they don't have to.

In-house lawyers are undertaking more of the case preparation work and document production involved in big arbitration and litigation cases, jobs that are traditionally handed to external companies, according to the study.

Energy, construction and financial services firms are those most likely to be looking for more in-house lawyers in the next few years, reports the Financial Times.

"One of the key findings of the research is this trend in specialist counsel being brought in-house. In part, this is down to a cost-control measure but it will also serve as a real vote of confidence in [international arbitration] as these firms recognise the value in having arbitration specialists embedded more within their multinational businesses," said Gerry Lagerberg, PwC's head of international arbitration.

Globalisation has led to more cross-border disputes between major companies, with international arbitration now a popular way of resolving these problems when they arise. Until executives finally agree that company-wide games of British Bulldog are the cheapest and most efficient way to come to a decision on these arguments, in-house lawyers will be kept busy with helping them prepare for major cases.

The International Chamber of Commerce's centre in Paris, one of the major hubs for inter-business disagreements, has also reported an increase in the number of awards it makes as well as the overall value of the cases.