In the UK, distinct movement toward less well known firms and international firms, away from Magic Circle and Silver Circle firms
During late 2009 and much of 2010, U.K. heads of legal showed significant appetite to use more “mid-tier firms” in that country as well as more “international firms.” This shift in reliance for outsourced legal work appears graphically in a Winmark survey of CLO Programme membership (at 13). It is based on data obtained in the Autumn of 2010 from 124 UK general counsel. You can request the report from John Jeffcock.
Thirty percent of the respondents indicated they had increased their use of “UK Mid-Tier Firms” and 25 percent had done so with International Firms. The greater use of those two tranches of firms came at the expense of Silver Circle and Magic Circle firms. (I learned from the omniscient Wikipedia that the six Silver Circle firms are deemed to be Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Herbert Smith, Macfarlanes, SJ Berwin and Travers Smith.) This data supports my point that if you really want to change your costs, change your firms.
A final note, 12 percent of the respondents stated that they had increased the amount of work outsourced to LPO providers. This movement will likely continue.