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“33.5% of in-house counsel reported that law firm services are a commodity”

This finding comes from Inside Counsel, July 2008 at 49, from its recent survey of law department satisfaction with law firms.

Loyalty rates of law departments to law firms suggest otherwise, and incessant fee increases by lawa firms suggest otherwise, and the infrequency of competitive bids suggests otherwise, and the rarity of fixed fees suggests otherwise, and slow adoption of offshoring suggests otherwise, and stymied document assembly suggests otherwise, and soaring profits per partner suggests otherwise, and proliferation of mega-firms suggests otherwise …

But what’s your point, Rees Morrison?

My point is that in-house lawyers respect the quality and individuality of craftsmanship produced by the particular firms they use, and that they do not look at those firms or their services as fungible.

Does this finding suggest that many firms look alike to these in-house counsel? Does it suggest that the work product many firms produce is indistinguishable from the work of other firms? Are their steps and deliverables standardized (See my post of June 6, 2008: meanings of routine, standardized, and commodity.)? The facts belie this artifactual finding.