14 October 2013

Clients get sceptical about premium law firms

Premium brand law firms are losing their attraction for large legal departments which are increasingly likely to defect.

By Mary Heaney

Poorer ratings for premium law firms Mr Gao

According to new research posted on the Harvard Business Review blog, not only did 74 per cent of corporate respondents say they were less likely to use a good lawyer from a pedigree firm such as the US AmLaw 20 or the UK’s Magic Circle firms but  57 per cent said lawyers from such firms were  less responsive than other firms.

Online closed community

The research was conducted by AdvanceLaw, an online closed community network which boasts of companies such as Google, Nike, Mastercard, Panasonic, Nestle and eBay as clients.The company gives out work to selected law firms, collects feedback on law firms from its members. Law firm members include firms such as Simmons & Simmons in the UK, US firm  Adams and Reese in the US and Canadian firm Heenan Blaikie, Argentinian firm Marval, O’ Farrell & Mairal and Russian firm Goltsblat BLP.

Evaluations on quality and efficiencies

According to founder and CEO Firoz Dattu, the company identifies "top law firms and lawyers capable of also being efficient." He says the company gives then "a large incentive to provide additional quality, efficiency and responsiveness."
Mr Dattu said that the incentive was that the firms were evaluated on their performance on quality and efficiency which were shared with the entire group of 90 clients. He added that in the US they tended to use firms in less expensive geographies than New York.However, the company did not negotiate discounts  for their clients.


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