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Just finished Michael Lewis’ MoneyBall. His thoughtful book takes issue with the “clubbiness” of baseball — the sport’s desire to do things the way they’ve always been done, regardless of whether it’s the most cost-effective approach. I wouldn’t dare wade any further into the baseball debate, but Lewis’s point applies to an area only slightly less controversial — companies’ relationship with their outside counsel. This year we compiled our third annual Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies study. The survey asks the Fortune 250 to list their primary outside law firms for litigation, corporate transactions, corporate governance, labor and employment, and intellectual property. Companies were required to limit their submissions to seven firms per practice area. While I am grateful to the 133 corporations that supplied law firm data, I am disappointed that nearly 100 businesses chose not to participate. (The remainder didn’t even respond to our entreaties.) We know you’re busy; we know the form was long, and we sent it out over the summer; still, legal departments had three months to fill out the questionnaire. Participating in the survey is important. Disclosing your outside counsel — showing your peers which firms you’ve dropped, which you’ve added, and which ones you retain year in and year out–� adds some transparency to the Skull & Bones — like process of hiring and firing outside counsel. Last year, The Am Law 200 reported revenues of $54 billion — most of it came from your coffers. To spend that money more productively, general counsel would benefit from knowing which firms their peers think are the best. Yes, showing your hand means your outside counsel may become more popular and respond to your BlackBerry messages a little slower. But the upside for everyone in this business is progress toward making an expensive, inefficient marketplace just a little more efficient.

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