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Should you outsource the work of your contracts department?


Are you finding it a challenge managing the workflow of your university’s legal department? As someone who previously headed a University Legal Department, I understand the headache in maintaining consistency of service amidst increased workload, staff absences, recruitment and training.


A report published by Research Consulting Ltd in September 2018, titled "Managing Research Contracts 2018 - An International Benchmarking Study" sheds light on the annual volume of contracts, the hours spent and the number of contracts per full-time member of the research contracts team (FTE). Although the report is a few years old, it is still an engaging read with fascinating statistics.

For instance, the average number of contracts managed per year, per FTE is 169, with variations of 60 - 400 between different universities. Most UK universities surveyed spend between 6 and 18 hours dealing with each contract, translating to a cost per contract of £130 - £530.

But is it too expensive to outsource a portion of the work? At Claric, we dealt with 198 separate matters for our university clients last year. Taking into consideration the hours spent and our hourly fees, we calculated the average cost to the client falls below the £530 upper range of in-house estimates. This is before bearing in mind that staff salaries have risen since 2018.

Whilst we would not necessarily advocate outsourcing the full function of the Research Contracts Department, it could undoubtably be a cost-effective option during peak workload or staff absences. With years of experience in reviewing, drafting and negotiating contracts in the Higher Education Sector, Claric offers hourly rates significantly lower than typical commercial law firms. In addition, the flexibility of our service is the benefit clients appreciate most.

To learn more about the services we provide, visit or get in touch with Richard Jenkins on 024 7698 0613 or

Please note that this post should not be relied upon for legal advice.

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