Make-or-Buy Decisions in Legal Services: A Strategic Perspective

Sako, Mari (2010) Make-or-Buy Decisions in Legal Services: A Strategic Perspective. In: Law Firm Evolution: Brave New World or Business as Usual?, 21-23 March, 2010, Georgetown Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, Georgetown Law School.

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Abstract

How do corporate legal departments and law firms make decisions about ‘making’ or ‘buying’ legal services? In what ways are their decisions governed by the usual criteria and factors identified in economic and managerial theories of the firm? And to what extent are lawyers’ make‐or‐buy decisions affected by professionalism and partnerships that govern the legal profession? This paper addresses these questions by generating five propositions arising out of various theories, concerning (1) the link between task modularity and organizational modularity, (2) knowledge interdependence complicating this link, (3) rent‐seeking, property‐rights, incentive‐alignment, and decision‐making adaptation motives for make‐or‐buy decisions, (4) the impact of managerial hierarchy on make‐or‐buy decision, and (5) the industry‐level distribution of capabilities affecting value chain disintegration. The paper discusses some evidence in legal services in support of these propositions, and raise questions for further research.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: make‐or‐buy decisions; theories of the firm; firm boundaries; law firms; professional services firms; legal services
Subject(s): Professional services
Project management
Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Centre: Centre for Professional Firms
BT Centre for Major Programme Management
Faculty of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2012 09:39
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:07
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/3764

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