Doing More With Less During a Recession

First Reviewed : September 23, 2022
Last Reviewed: September 23, 2022

With a looming recession on the horizon, legal departments are recession-proofing to stay afloat during the hard times. Economic blows inevitably force legal departments to pare down to the essentials, which could mean shoestring budgets and furloughs. 

Reuters states that the number of legal sector jobs has surpassed the Great Recession’s dismal records. There were 1,185,600 in 2008, and today – 1,179,500. Even as legal professionals step down under duress, the work keeps on accumulating. What’s a legal department to do with low budgets and resources, but high volumes of legal work?

Less Resources, More Work

As Legal Dive notes, all’s not lost when legal departments anticipate a recession. In fact, they can leverage a recession as a period to finetune their legal department and maximize efficiency until the economy stabilizes. 


A classic outsourcing offers legal departments a way to augment their team, delivering legal work and processes. In the middle of a recession, a law firm may be the sole pool of talent, going beyond augmenting the legal department, and stepping in for them. 

According to ACC Docket, “shifting work to lower cost legal providers” may be a viable – or only – solution to recession-borne legal department woes. The costs may unfortunately add up, forcing legal departments to find alternatives in alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) and law firms outside of big cities. 


Unlike run-of-the-mill outsourcing companies, ALSPs leverage the talent of real lawyers, adding an extra layer of authenticity, trust, and efficiency to legal work. Combining the benefits of affordability that you can expect from outsourcing, while maintaining stringent levels of high quality associated with law firms, ALSPs provide legal departments with the best of both worlds. While a recession may force legal departments to look for just any or “good” services, ALSPs offer solutions for the discerning legal department. 

Reallocating Talent

A legal department in the process of paring down resources can tap into the potential of reallocating work to lawyers who are still with the organization. Lawyers who wear many hats and can advise their company on a variety of practice areas and can offer their organization a wealth of talent beyond the legal department. 

To add to this, the inverse can also hold true – talent from other departments can handle the rote work that piles up on legal department desks, freeing the team up for pressing legal matters that are sure to abound during a recession. 

Weathering The Storm 

Above the Law notes that the recession will wreak havoc on legal departments, and  that “deals continue to be signed on the dotted line… in-house legal recruitment is ramping up”. Legal work will skyrocket during the recession, while legal departments have to make do with the tight budgets and resources they have on hand. With outsourcing, ALSPs, and other viable solutions, legal departments can weather this storm.

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