What’s on clients’ minds

After a break, Aric Press is back in The Dialogue with What’s on clients’ minds. My partners and I have spent the last three years talking to hundreds of law firm clients. And we have good news and bad news to report.

Most clients like and appreciate the work they get from their outside firms, but only a minority told us that they were “very satisfied” by their outside lawyers. We heard heartwarming praise—“They were in the foxhole with me”—and the familiar “too” complaints: too expensive, too inefficient, too slow to change.

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Do clients prefer lawyers who are hedgehogs or foxes?

Ken Grady leads today with his intriguingly titled post: Do clients prefer lawyers who are hedgehogs or foxes? Refresh your memory about Archilochus, the Greek lyric poet (c. 680-c. 645 BC), famous for his poetry fragment: “The fox knows many things; the hedgehog one big thing” – Πόλλ᾽ οἶδ᾽ ἀλώπηξ, ἀλλ’ ἐχῖνος ἕν μέγα – and immerse yourself in addressing this profound question.

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Insights from the latest buying legal services survey

Written by Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein – Executive Director of the Buying Legal Council – today’s post is based on key insights from the latest buying legal services survey [1]. In the spirit of Jeff Carr’s recent letter reproduced on The Dialogue to outside counsel on delivering value with integrity, Silvia uses two emails, one from a CFO to the Legal Department, and the other from the CMO of a major law firm on the panel to the Head of the Corporate Practice.

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Small firms: Take your size and own it

At the end of March, George Beaton posted an article in his Remaking Law Firms blog entitled ‘Mid-market law firm brouhaha’ in which he challenges the automatic attribution of law firm woes outside the BigLaw firmament. George references my previous article on ‘The Strength of Small Law Firms’ and advocates for a move away from the “small equals struggling” narrative. “To my knowledge”, he says, “there isn’t a skerrick of systematic evidence that all/most clients of these mid-market firms are saying “It’s desirable that your services are delivered by you in a firm with a bigger/international footprint/greater scale/wider range of services”.

Beaton argues that the “small-equals-struggling” narrative attributes certain challenges to the mid-market, which are, in fact, challenges faced by all law firms. In this scenario, he argues, it’s not the size of the firm that matters but the way it delivers its services.

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Update: NewLaw firm combo intends to halve corporates’ legal spend

For the first time, three luminaries who appear on The Dialogue are featured in the same story by legendary Bob Ambrogi on the equally renowned Above the Law website.

Bob reports on the formation of ElevateNext, an innovative partnership designed to comply with the US’s ethical rules and enable those who are not lawyers to invest in the provision of technology-based and process-related services bundled with legal services to corporate law departments.

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Delivering value with integrity: Letter to outside counsel

Delivering value with integrity is Jeff Carr’s recent letter to outside law firms in his capacity as GC of Univar. The message is clear and needs no introductory explanation from me. Can you hear hands clapping, Jeff?

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