Based on 165 responses to Altman Weil’s recent survey, conducted in partnership with Lexis Nexis Martindale-Hubble, the two firms made much of the drop from previous years in the “fired or considering firing” percentage. At 30 percent, the figure dropped significantly from the approximately 50 percent figure of previous years. The analysis attributed the drop mostly to steps outside firms had taken to improve communication, reduce fees, partner with law departments, improve staff assignments, and provide free training.
I wonder whether another set of forces are at work. Perhaps convergence has gone on so long that many law departments have culled out their under-performing firms. Perhaps with bigger firms serving some departments there are more ways to resolve dissatisfaction than firing the firm. Perhaps law departments regard simply not using an unsatisfactory firm as different than “firing” the firm. Perhaps a quite different group of CLO respondents replied to this year’s survey.
I doubt that law firms in the US, taken as a whole, have so dramatically upped their game.