To share thoughts about regional law firms, we need a definition, and one part is the negative definition that they are not large, national law firms (See my post of Dec. 27, 2008: definition of “small” law department; and Dec. 29, 2008: definition of a medium-size department.). Those firms are “rim biggies,” multi-hundred-lawyer firms based around the rim of the United States, firms with hundreds of lawyers in one of the Bos-Wash corridor cities (Boston, NY, Philadelphia, or DC), metro Texas (Houston or Dallas), LA and SF, and Chicago. If the bulk of a firm’s lawyers are not in those cities, but the firm has well more than 300-400 lawyers, many general counsel categorize them as “regional law firms.”
More importantly, many general counsel think of regional law firms as offering a lower cost alternative to the brand-name, rim biggies (See my post of Aug. 21, 2005: differences in billing rates between firms; Jan. 3, 2006: favor regional firms if you can be a primary client to them; Jan. 10, 2006: a cost comparison; March 12, 2006: global, international, regional and local firms; Aug. 24, 2006: GE’s Manhattan Project; March 4, 2007: Chevron and regional firm paired with rim biggie; Sept. 12, 2008: Burger King quantifies value of regional counsel; and Oct. 24, 2008: in 1962, Shook Hardy became Eli Lilly regional counsel.).