Freebies by law firms are a “crucial factor” in decisions to instruct external law firms?

I doubt that in-house counsel decide to retain law firms because of inducements firms offer such as secondments and access to knowledge databases. Yet that is precisely what a recent report from Eversheds found, however.

“Law firm of the 21st century: The clients’ revolution,” is based on questions asked of 130 general counsel. Almost two thirds of them reported “receiving better value for money since the credit crisis” because of such “value-add services. (or ‘freebies’)”.

As an aside, when clients clamor for better value, they want the fees paid for legal services to match the business results more closely, not to be based on lawyer inputs measured by hours. Value from law firms only peripherally has to do with the two examples given of sweeteners or others such as technological assistance, free CLE training, 24-hour hotlines, or legal updates delivered on extranets.

In-house lawyers choose firms based on the legal experience and capabilities of its lawyers. So it astounds me that “A majority of clients (87%) now say that these value-add services are a crucial factor in their decision to instruct external law firms.”

Say it isn’t so, Joe GC!

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