How should you respond if a survey asks you to disclose the law firms you use?

A major bank’s law department deliberately refuses to complete surveys that ask for it to list the law firms it uses most. Law firms who represent the bank lobby to be listed, but the department has decided as a matter of policy not to oblige. Perhaps its policy rests on the belief that nothing good can come from disclosure, but the bank might miff a firm not listed or create more demand for its chosen counsel. Or perhaps the roster changes with enough frequency that any snapshot listing is sure to be out of date. Maybe the department does not want complacency to sap its primary firms. Maybe the policy interdicts all surveys.

Other law departments, by contrast, feel no compunctions about citing their go-to firms (See my posts of Sept. 21, 2005 on league tables; and Dec. 4, 2006 on Martindale-Hubble listings.). Some general counsel may believe that a stellar list of firms hired reflects well on the judgment and clout of the department (See my post of June 11, 2007 and 11 references cited about other forms of public relations undertaken by law departments.). Others may recognize that their honored law firms swell with pride and redouble their efforts on behalf of an appreciative client who praises them publicly.

I side with the disclosers.

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