Hard times bring opportunities, and the network of small and midsize law firms called Meritas hopes that more general counsel come knocking as their companies look for ways to cut costs.

Cost savings isn’t the only reason to use one of Meritas’ 170 firms, which are based in more than 60 countries (and 49 states). The firms and their clients also tout personal service, geographic reach and quality control. But the potential savings compared to fees charged by larger shops isn’t something companies are likely to sniff at these days. Clients say they save up to 25 percent, with hourly rates that average $150 to $200 less than megafirms charge.

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