LexisNexis CounselLink’s 2023 annual report reveals insights on corporate legal spending and outside counsel relationships:

* Law firm hourly rates increased by 4.5% over the past year, the highest increase in the report’s 10-year history.

* Average blended rates remained relatively stable, suggesting in-house counsel are adapting to rate increases by altering the mix of firms and timekeepers.

* The trend of consolidation to fewer outside firms continues, with 61% of companies using 10 or fewer firms for 80% of legal spending.

* Alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) remain at 12% of matters, this is quite low given the push for AFAs has been around for many years.

* International lawyer rates vary significantly across countries

* Upcoming changes include leveraging AI and technology for increased efficiency and data-driven decision-making.