Legal Week Intelligence, Legal Week’s research arm, has launched the 2017 Best Legal Advisers Survey, which is now available for all general counsel and other buyers of legal services to complete here.

Now in its 14th year, the report examines the most important aspects of service to clients of leading law firms – gathering views on importance and satisfaction for all aspects of client service, including commercial understanding of client business, consistency of service across the firm network, teamwork, communication, fee structures, billing and innovation.

Additionally, the report asks clients to name up to five outstanding partners at their preferred law firms. The partner that receives the most votes will be named Best Client Partner at the British Legal Awards in London on 30 November 2017.

Last year’s Best Legal Advisers research generated responses from 1,000 GCs, in-house lawyers and senior executives from top UK and international companies, resulting in a list of the top 20 best legal advisers.

Quality of legal advice and quality of service came out joint top among all criteria, both scoring 96% in importance, ahead of communication and responsiveness (94%), commercial approach/understanding (92%) and value for money (92%).

However, clients are less satisfied with how law firms are delivering on these criteria, with both quality of legal advice and quality of service scoring 86%.

This year’s survey will take place against a background of intense competition among leading law firms to secure coveted panel spots in an increasingly demanding legal market, a challenge made even tougher by new competition from the likes of alternative service providers and accounting firms. In March of this year, Legal Week reported on a new shared services agreement between PwC Legal and GE to provide tax services to the company, showing the level at which the client-law firm relationship is evolving.

In-house departments are also paying an increasing amount of scrutiny to the diversity of their legal teams, with HP, Microsoft and Paypal all demanding to see less homogenous external legal teams, with those that do not change potentially facing financial penalties. This year’s survey focuses on this issue, asking all respondents whether the diversity of external counsel teams is a factor in their selection of external counsel.

Firms that score exceptionally well in the report will be awarded a Legal Adviser accreditation, with coverage featured on legalweek.com’s Legal Advisers content hub and throughout ALM’s global legal media network.