X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Law firms are paying a heck of a lot of money to get the answer to a perennial question: how to improve their relationships with clients. Morrison & Foerster, Pillsbury Winthrop, Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich and others have recently been plopping down hefty sums to have outside consultants do extensive in-person interviews of key clients. While most corporate counsel say they care about cost and quality, the studies may serve another purpose: letting clients know that the firm is interested in maintaining a good relationship. “If I and fellow GCs can get the message through to outside counsel they have to be more in tune with what counts most with in-house lawyers,” then the surveys will be a success, said Michael Roster, general counsel of Golden West Financial Corp., who has been repeatedly canvassed. Controlling costs Increasingly, that concern comes down to one thing-controlling costs. Firms have always cared about their relationship with clients, but in the last few years, it’s become more important as general counsel have cut back the number of outside firms they use. This practice, dubbed convergence, is intended to give companies leverage with outside counsel-in negotiating rates, staffing and time devoted to them-in exchange for giving them more work. According to Boston’s BTI Consulting Group Inc., corporate law departments are using 25% to 30% fewer law firms than they did three years ago. At the same time, corporate legal staffs have shrunk by 40%, even as companies shift more work to outside firms. As a result, more emphasis than ever is being placed on maintaining relationships. “These are trends that would make law firms stand up and say, ‘I better find a way to make my clients happier,’ ” said BTI President Michael Rynowecer. Client surveys are nothing new, of course. But recently firms have turned to outside consultants to get more candid feedback. Six months ago, San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster hired the Zeughauser Group to interview about 100 decision-makers among the firm’s clients. While firms say the results are confidential, what they are learning is apparently making an impact. “We’re spending a significant amount of time at our worldwide partners meeting [in Washington recently] discussing the results of the survey,” said Morrison & Foerster Chairman Keith Wetmore. “We think they will be shaping how we describe ourselves.” While Wetmore declined to say how much the survey cost, he acknowledged that it was expensive.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.