In counseling their large law firm clients, management consultants frequently exhort firms to embrace responsiveness as the paramount virtue. When doing so they point to extensive research suggesting that major corporate clients dump their law firms for lack of responsiveness more than for any other sin.

High prices and bad results may annoy general counsel, but nothing so enrages them (or so we are told) as the failure to respond instantaneously to any query. In our BlackBerry culture, a day late is, by definition, a dollar short. More and more clients seem to expect a response to an e-mail or a voicemail within an hour. Twenty-four/seven availability is assumed, and many view turning the BlackBerry off, even during religious observances, weddings and funerals, as professional sacrilege.

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