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We start the New year with a survey. while today’s legal department is a full-service wonder, in-house counsel still routinely retain outside counsel when, as our cover says, it’s a big deal. We were curious to see which firms get your business. Do the usual suspects get most of the work? Or is it doled out to a wide range of firms? Are there any left-field choices out there that took us by surprise? The answers, contained in Corporate Counsel’s first survey of Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies are, well, yes, yes, and yes. As usual, there’s a story behind the data. Reporter Ashby Jones (see “Changeable Partners,” page 62) talked to general counsel and litigation chiefs and consultants. He came away with the sense that the consolidation experiments of the nineties (the so-called DuPont model) didn’t lead to a widespread shift in how in-house attorneys choose their outside counsel. When it’s bet-the-company time, most general counsel hit the speed dial and talk to their favorite big-city megafirm. But, as Jones points out, there’s a shift under way. A few companies are making surprising choices when they’re confronted by novel problems. McDonald’s Corporation, for example, hired firms it doesn’t normally deal with when obese people sued the fast-food purveyor for making them that way (think of it as the French fry offense). Plus, the pool of law firms is getting bigger. Legal departments may rely on 50 firms for the bulk of their legal work, but for the rest, they choose from a wider group. Everyone’s happyeven the big names, which would prefer not to be bogged down in routine work anymore. It’s a trend we’ll be tracking for a while. While we’re doing that, you might want to retool your image. Being a Master of the Universe just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially in the wake of last year’s corporate scandals. In this month’s Outbox (page 178), CC editor Vivia Chen lightheartedly tells us what’s in and what’s hopelessly pass�. And if you follow her advice, you just might be able to come in under the radarand not make it into the tabloids.

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