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Ambivalences about industry experience and client popularity

Rue another instance of “no good deed goes unpunished.” If a law department sees that a law firm has been very successful in representing companies in its industry, the law department might shy away (See my post of Oct. 29, 2005 and its disparagement of industry knowledge.). This paradoxical reaction comes about because there could be concerns about the firm’s capacity to take on more work – the lawyers are too busy — and some residual worries about conflicts of interest.

Some reservations might well up from a worry that the firm’s work will not be crafted uniquely for the client, but will be a cookie-cutter application from the other clients. Even the firm with the most breadth, the deepest bench, still has only one or two star lawyers and those luminaries can be buried with work.

Thus, success has its costs. Law departments might have mixed feelings about a firm with extensive background in an industry and strong demand from clients.