A few law departments have asked their law firms to speak to the relationship between firm and department and how to improve that relationship (See my post of May 17, 2006 on Exelon). Whether law firm partners bare their souls to those who pay them I doubt (See my post of March 30, 2006 on fawning and flattering.)
What if a consultant called a relationship partner and asked the partner to list five clients who were better than average at communication, clarity of directions, decision-making, balanced cost control, early involvement and other characteristics of a law department that manages counsel well. If the law department that retained the consultant was never or rarely in the top five, which is all the consultant would report, the critical message can be fairly reliably be presumed (See my post of May 1, 2006 on the dark side of partnering.).