“We offer a sophisticated professional service, not a commodity product. “

These complaints are voiced increasingly by lawyers as they bemoan the economic recession and clients’ intense focus on cutting legal costs. Law firms believe there is something special, something distinguished, about our profession that should make it immune from economic downturn. Yet all our clients seem to want to talk about are bulk discounts, online auctions for legal services, loss leaders and outsourcing. The chief financial officers of some clients are becoming as important as general counsel in making hiring decisions. Clients increasingly view legal services as just another commodity, and are pressing their firms to provide those services cheaply and efficiently.

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