Summary of To Make or to Buy

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To Make or to Buy book summary


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Who delivers greater value to companies needing legal work: in-house lawyers or outside counsel from law firms? In search of answers, Duke University’s Steven L. Schwarcz conducted surveys of in-house lawyers and, using a shorter form, of external law-firm attorneys. He details eight different hypotheses, develops quantifiable survey data and uses this data as a prism through which to answer the question: Is it better for companies to “make or buy” legal expertise? Because Schwarcz asks lawyers to respond to surveys about their merits versus their competitors, he raised the caveat, of course, of self-evaluation bias. Despite this anomaly, and the report’s tendency to jump from topic to topic, getAbstract finds that this research will interest corporate hiring officers, in-house legal counsel, and lawyers serving or seeking corporate clients.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why companies increasingly are shifting transactional legal work to in-house lawyers,
  • What eight hypotheses explain this trend and
  • What survey data reveal about this process.

About the Author

Steven L. Schwarcz is the Stanley A. Star Professor of Law and Business at the Duke University School of Law, and the founding director of Duke Global Capital Markets Center.



The Shift to In-House Lawyers
Currently, the status of in-house lawyers – who are corporate employees rather than outside contractors – is enjoying a notable upswing, as are their professional skills. In-house legal departments are expanding: From 1998 to 2004, the staffs of the “200 largest...

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