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July 07, 2007

Big Law Firms Ranked on Service and "Arrogance" and GCs Not Happy!

Hat Tip to the Indiana Law Blog and my reporter friend, Doug Malan, of the Connecticut Law Tribune for this interesting read on dissatisfaction of GC's with outside counsel.  Less than 32% would recommend their outside counsel to fellow GCs.

When corporations say they are dissatisfied with their outside counsel, it usually means "they think they're getting taken for a ride with the costs," said Cohen, who negotiated discounts with the law firms his company uses by asking them to use lower-cost lawyers in the Midwest for document preparation rather than higher-priced New York City-based associates. [emphasis added by ILB]

To be sure, the perception of outside counsel has been generally unfavorable in recent years. The overall satisfaction rate on the BTI survey topped 43 percent as recently as 2005. As the rate dipped toward 30 percent the past two years, corporations are doing more than complaining. About half the companies surveyed by BTI in recent years either reported firing one of their outside counsel or announced plans to try a new firm.

BTI also compiled a list of the "most arrogant" law firms. Arrogance was defined, in part, by high fees, a refusal to take on work and poor experience in certain matters.

In another question, BTI found that just 25 percent of the corporations surveyed said their primary outside counsel excelled in client service.

"Many corporate counsel will tell you that their law firms will do what they're asked, and nothing more," said Rynowecer, BTI's president.

This follows on the heels of my recent post discussing discontent in the GC ranks which presents an opportunity for solos and smaller firms to 'go in for the kill.'

I like to call this type of eye-popping news an indirect invitation to the dance for solos and small firms.  The large corporations are tired of the same old two-step with the same partner.  But, they are not going to actively seek you out.  You have to show them what you are capable of doing and addressing their 'main pain' as copywriters like to call it.  Their main pain is customer service and overpricing within the same old billable-hour model.  Polish off your dancing shoes and start sweeping them off their feet!

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