Network Firm News

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

How Clients Choose
Charles Maddock, Principal, Altman Weil -- 5/13/03
Article summarizing findings of two recent legal market surveys reports: "While Chief Legal Officers reported selection criteria run along traditional lines (expertise, quality and reputation), beyond that, baseline law frms need to find ways to differentiate themselves from competitor firms. Those firms that can offer better client service, technology interfaces, cost efficiencies, and effective marketing programs may have an edge. In addition, law firms that are members of associations . . . are perceived to have a competitive advantage over their unaffiliated brethren.

Most Significant Findings:
-- Consolidation continuing
-- Most inhouse law departments will maintain or decrease size
-- 92% of CLOs select or direct selection of outside counsel
-- Expertise in a specific area, perception of high-quality work, reputation of an attorney in the firm, fee structure, local market knowledge and, for international matters, languages spoken.
-- 1/3 of respondents maintain lists of approved outside counsel, but 41% do not.
-- Referrals, beauty contests, articles written by lawyers scored highest of 17 choices for how law departments choose law firms.
-- Lack of responsiveness cited as most prevelant reason for dissatisfaction with outside counsel.

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