How law firms can help improve law department performance without cutting fees

About 18 months ago, BTI Consulting Group surveyed more than 180 Fortune 1000 corporate counsel. One question on this topic gave respondents 11 choices.

The number one response, with 23% selecting it, was “share information electronically.” I presume this means that in-house counsel gain productivity and skill – perform better — when their law firms provide electronic forms or precedent documents. Secondarily, if a memo of law, an update on developments, or guidelines on how to do something comes electronically, it can be filed, found readily, and improve the in-house lawyer’s productivity. (I do not think the phrase was meant to cover electronic bills.)

Next most frequently chosen as what law firms could do to help their counterparts perform better was “offer training” (14% — which could be for the corporate lawyer or for their clients, I wager). Five actions tied at 9% each: “work efficiently,” “understand my business,” “be responsive,” “partner with me,” and “reduce overall costs.” The final four were tied at 5%: “provide quality,” “improve yourself,” “be more creative,” and “use collaborative technology.” Some of these choices are silly (work efficiently, improve, think).

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