GCC NEWS FEATURE
Companies Dissatisfied with Outside Counsel [By Jen Woods] Corporate America is not happy with its outside counsel, according to a recent client-service survey. Only 32% of surveyed executives said they would recommend firms that worked for them, and 70% said they were dissatisfied with their primary law firms.
BTI Consulting Group has conducted its sixth
and secondary firms. For the first time in
are unhappy, Sessions said. Her firm has a
annual survey, “How Clients Hire, Fire, and
six years, BTI found that clients paid more
client-satisfaction program that is designed
Spend: Landing the World’s Best Client.”
money to secondary firms than they did to
to get feedback, both positive and negative,
BTI President Michael Rynowecer led the
their primary firms. The average client paid
from clients, she explained.
team of researchers, which interviewed
43% of its total budget to outside counsel
more than 200 corporate counsel and top
and nearly 40% of its total budget to outside
Other firms, including Cleveland-based
executives from Fortune 1000 companies
Thompson Hine, have developed clientsurvey programs to identify what clients
over the past year to find out how they rated According to the survey results, more than
want from firms. Thompson Hine’s survey
half of the respondents-about 54%-had
questions are very specific, allowing the
The top five law firms, according to the
either replaced or demoted a primary firm in
law firm to identify such preferences as
survey, include Sidley Austin, Jones Day,
the last 18 months.
preferred billing dates and preferred modes
their outside legal counsel.
of communication, Avidas Jasin, Director of
Holland & Knight, Reed Smith, and Baker & McKenzie. These firms received high ratings
Three factors, in particular, are leading
Business Development at Thompson Hine,
for several reasons. “The major components
to companies’ dissatisfaction with outside
told the Daily Record.
of client satisfaction are the ability to make
counsel. Companies are unhappy when law
legal expertise client-specific, to understand
firms fail to keep up with clients’ changing
According to the survey results, many more
the client’s business, to go beyond what’s
needs, fail to articulate the value they
law firms will be hired in 2006. About half of
anticipated, and to achieve the client’s
deliver, and fail to communicate efficiently
the respondents reported that they planned
goals,” Rynowecer told the ABA Journal.
with clients, according to the survey.
to seek services from at least one new firm
Only about 30.7% of corporate counsel
However, it is becoming increasingly difficult
surveyed were satisfied with their primary
to provide legal services to corporate clients,
law firms, compared with 43.5% in 2005. The
as law firms and companies continue to grow
decline this year has been the most dramatic
in size. “When the client was smaller, it was
BTI Consulting Group
since BTI began conducting its annual survey.
easier to achieve a sense of connectedness
in the near future. ON THE NET
and a relationship of trust,” Ralph Baxter, Also, an increasing number of corporate
Chairman of San Francisco-based Orrick,
Thompson Hine, LLP
counsel are seeking services from fewer
Herrington & Sutcliffe, told the ABA Journal.
used 52 firms last year-two primary firms, 11
“Clients won’t always tell you that they have
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
secondary firms, and 39 case-specific firms.
a problem,” Barbara Sessions, Marketing
law firms. The average company surveyed
Partner at Chicago-based Winston & Strawn, In addition, the survey results indicate that
told the ABA Journal. Law firms should
there is less distinction between top firms
encourage their clients to speak up if they
Published on Dec 12, 2012
Article About Companies Dissatisfaction With Outside Counsel As Per The Client-Service Survey With Information About Primary Law Firms, Outs...