5 October 2016

Legal procurement promotes diversity in the legal industry


Diversity in the workplace has long been recognised as a profitable strategy for organisations but focus is now shifting to supplier diversity to boost success.

Commonly viewed as a key ingredient to corporate social responsibility, supplier diversity programs work in unity with workforce strategies to improve business efficiency, cut costs and ensure alignment with corporate goals.

Legal procurement, the latest trend from the US and Europe to impact buying behaviour in the legal industry, is receiving a lot of attention from in-house counsel in Australia.

“say goodbye to the ‘good old boys network’ of hiring lawyers”

Legal procurement brings many benefits to in-house counsel, one being the added diversity in selection of external law firms.

It is time to “say goodbye to the ‘good old boys network’ of hiring lawyers,”1 claims Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein, who is an expert in legal procurement and Executive Director at Buying Legal Council.

Richard Stock of Catalyst Consulting in Toronto confirms most in-house lawyers still use relationship-based selection to pick external counsel.

“That doesn’t mean that the counsel selected aren’t good counsel, but that the process for selecting them and structuring the arrangements is frequently not very businesslike,”

“…the process is bound to change: because expertise is displacing reputation as a driver in the choice of law firms.”2 said Mr Stock.

These changes to the way legal services are procured are opening doors for organisations seeking to create a diverse supply chain for government, not-for-profits, and private industry.

From Lawcadia’s perspective, legal procurement processes introduce transparency to a system that traditionally operates via connections and relationships, which by their nature are subjective, and may not be verified or replicated.

Organisations that use a rigorous procurement approach find that it provides greater transparency, and consequently, a greater ability to justify legal spend to the CFO, COO or relevant stakeholders.

Meeting diversity targets and sourcing responsibly is part of that.

Senior In-House Counsel and Procurement Professionals will gather in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne next week at the Legal Procurement Forum 2016 for a candid discussion of the current issues and opportunities in legal procurement.

For more information on the Legal Procurement Forum 2016, visit https://legalprocurementforum.com/



1Buying Legal Council. (2016). 2016 Legal Procurement Survey.
2Melnitzer, J. (2 May, 2016). Using data to select external counsel. Retrieved 6 June, 2016, from: https://www.lexpert.ca

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