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Concentration of spending by law departments on the two firms paid the most

InsideCounsel, Jan. 2008 at 50, provides some data from the most recent law department survey of Altman Weil. The survey reports that “51.8% of outside fees go to the company’s top two firms” (See my post of March 24, 2005 on concentration of spending; and Dec. 17, 2007 on concentration efforts by law firms.).

This is not to say that the top-two law firms of a law department stay the same from year to year. A single large case may command huge sums for a firm during a year, but once that case ends, the firm slips back into the pack. Nor is it to say that the top-two firms ought to stay the same (See my post of Dec.16, 2005 on complacency as it afflicts incumbent firms; and Dec. 6, 2006 on retrograde effects of institutional knowledge.). All that said, most law departments have a small number of law firms that they regard as go-to firms for major undertakings.