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My duties here at ALM include being the top editor of two other magazines, IP Law & Businessand Law Firm Inc. Recently, I was reading LFI’s July/August cover story, a survey of Am Law 200 law librarians. It was the sixth time that ALM has surveyed that group, but I’d never gotten around to reading the past stories very closely. The law librarians, to my surprise, are a very opinionated bunch. For example, they openly critiqued their electronic research providers-going into exquisite details about the vendors’ flaws. As I made my way through the piece, one thought kept running through my head: General counsel could learn something from these people. In my six years here, one of the most baffling issues I’ve come across is in-house lawyers’ ambivalent relations with their outside counsel. Talk to a GC one-on-one, and you’ll often get an earful about rates, service-even about the firms he likes. But call him on the record for a story, and very few ( DuPont’s Tom Sageris an exception) want to speak publicly about these issues. Even though they’re the ones paying the bills-for reasons that would take Freud and Jung working together to explain-corporate counsel are reluctant to upset their law firms. This issue is one of the reasons why we modified our methodology for our annual Who Represents America’s Biggest Companiessurvey. For the past six years, we contacted the Fortune 250 and asked them to name their primary firms in a few big practice areas. Businesses had to limit their list to seven firms in each area. Unfortunately, company participation rates dropped over the last few years. Moreover, when we called general counsel who did participate in the survey to ask them about the firms they listed (e.g., Why did you put Skadden on your list this year and take off Jones Day?), we got a lot of squirrelly answers. Once again, company lawyers were afraid of offending firms-even ones that they were no longer using. So, to save us and you some stress, we changed our methodology this year. We went to public records to find out who counsels the Fortune 250 on commercial law and contracts litigation, corporate transactions, employment and labor litigation, and intellectual property. By doing the research this way, we got a more complete data set. And the kicker? Even under the new methodology, our findings weren’t that different from last year’s.

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