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Welcome to our annual report on the outside law firms that corporate America turns to — for bet-the-company litigation, or patent prosecution, or more mundane matters. As usual, large powerhouse firms predominate, jockeying for position as business needs change and different plaintiffs take aim. We do this survey every year, both to check the pulse of the largest chunk of law department spending, and as an excuse. It gives us a chance to delve into the ever-evolving relationship that many liken to a marriage. Recently, these marriages have come under stress. Cost pressures, collapsing revenues, the Great Recession all conspired to alter the relationship. Last year, brave voices heralded a fundamental change — but were they premature? The final verdict is yet to come. See what we do know, one year after the revolution.

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