City aims to reduce legal costs by increasing in-house legal expertise

First formal annual report for Legal and Realty Services to be reviewed by Council committee on May 14

GUELPH, ON, May 10, 2012 – The City’s first, formal annual report by its Legal and Realty Services department demonstrates the area’s effectiveness in 2011 providing legal and realty services to address the organization’s needs.

A green rating indicates results met or exceeded the City’s needs; a yellow rating shows results did not meet the City’s demands and require slight improvement; and a red rating means results do not meet the City’s demands and require immediate attention.

The City’s Legal and Realty Services is taking immediate steps to address the yellow and red ratings while maintaining the green ratings. These include co-counselling complex legal files with external counsel to reduce the amount spent on external legal costs; increasing in-house expertise to help achieve early resolution of legal matters; and seeking adequate resources for in-house legal services to increase efficiency.

Highlights of the Legal and Realty Services’ 2011 annual report are:

  • Cost control
  • $77 per hour spent on in-house legal costs per in-house lawyer compared to a median of $127 reported by the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI) – with a target of 10 per cent less than OMBI median (green)
  • an average of $403 per hour spent on external legal costs compared to a median of $370 reported by OMBI – with a target of 10 per cent less than OMBI median (red)

Effectiveness

almost 50 per cent of new litigation and Ontario Municipal Board appeals in 2011 were resolved in same year, with a target of 75 per cent (green)

Efficiency

.06 per cent of City’s 2011 operating budget spent on legal services, compared to an average of 12 per cent for government legal departments and five per cent for in-house legal departments, as reported by the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) – with a target of five percent (red)

.25 full-time equivalent of legal support provided per in-house lawyer, compared to .7 for government legal departments and .67 for in-house legal departments, as reported by the CCCA – with a target of .7 (red)

For more information

Donna Jaques
General Manager
Legal Services
T 519-822-1260 x 2288
donna.jaques@guelph.ca