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In the Legal Director Benchmarker survey this month, clients give a big thumbs up to their external advisers.In our poll of 100 general counsel, more than 90% say they are very or quite satisfied with their primary law firms. This is a marked increase on a similar survey 18 months ago. Law firms are praised particularly for their ability to communicate to clients. All indications are that partners in private practice are beginning to wake up to the fact that clients are paying their bills. Hopefully, this is a sign that the arrogance of lawyers in private practice is now embedded firmly in the past. But law firms should not get too complacent. With a recession around the corner, they would be well advised to read the comments of the general counsel surveyed. When asked how firms could improve the quality of their service, more than half of the unprompted responses referred to high costs or transparency of fees So the message is that quality of the advice is excellent and communication is much better, but law firms still have a long way to go on fees. But however many times in-house lawyers say it, the question is, when will the message ever get across?

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