Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bank of America lauded for cutting legal expenses

Battling lawsuit after lawsuit, Bank of America has had to shell out a pretty penny on lawyers over the past few years.

But the bank has cut down the number of outside lawyers they're paying and the dollar amount as well -- earning the bank an award from a legal industry group.

The Association of Corporate Counsel named the Charlotte bank one of the dozen companies it says have come up with "innovative strategies that deliver results while keeping efficiency high and costs low."

Bank of America cut down the number of outside law firms it works with from 700 to 30. A new department also keeps track of each law firm's costs, hours spent, budget savings and a number of other metrics. And more than 80 percent of cases are now using fixed fees or other arrangements besides billable hours.

Read more about what the bank's been doing here.

The bank spent $4.2 billion on litigation last year, down from $5.6 billion in 2011, according to securities filings.

Gary Lynch, the bank's current general counsel, gets a citation. Assistant general counsel Marcy Hingst, associate general counsel Lani Quarmby and director of litigation Jana Litsey do as well. The latter three are in Charlotte. Lynch is based in New York.

CEO Brian Moynihan used to be the bank's general counsel, so he presumably kept a focus on the area. Indeed, the association first cites the creation of a "litigation roundtable" in 2010, months after Moynihan took the top job.