Welcome to Corporate Counsel‘s annual report on the outside law firms that corporate America turns to — for bet-the-company litigation, or patent prosecution, or more mundane matters.

As usual, large powerhouse firms predominate, jockeying for position as business needs change and different plaintiffs take aim. Corporate Counsel does this survey every year, both to check the pulse of the largest chunk of law department spending, and as an excuse. It gives the magazine a chance to delve into the ever-evolving relationship that many liken to a marriage.