Size of law firms used as it relates to size of client company, and its law department

The listings of “who represents corporate America” give a broad-brush sense of which law firms big law departments favor. Much more revealing would be data on proportional amounts spent on those firms. It is fine to list Big Firm A, Mega Firm B, and Prestigious Firm C as your go-to outside counsel, but that disclosure misleads us if Firm A gets one percent of the law department’s spend, Firm B gets two percent, and Firm C a mere three percent.

The metrics-freak in me wishes we could get a listing of firms retained as ranked by fees paid over a three-year period – to lessen the distortion of the one-shot matter where huge fees went out. I suspect that law firm size correlates positively and reliably to company size. Smaller law departments lack the negotiating power to drive down rates much, so they seek out smaller law firms, which for the most part have lower rates than their bigger brethren.

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