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Consultants who interview law departments on behalf of law firms and some thoughts on pros and cons compared to a partner who interviews

Law departments readily agree to talk with someone from one of their law firms about the firm’s performance. Some law departments are asked by their law firms to speak with a consultant about the firm’s performance. What are the differences to a department between talking to the party of the first part and the third party?

With the partner, you don’t have to explain the background; with a consultant, there may be zero familiarity with acronyms, executives, business activities and history, or legal issues.

With the partner you may be reluctant to be too personal or too blunt; with a consultant who aggregates and conceals the specifics (sometimes), you can be direct.

With the partner, the message gets to the firm directly; speaking to a consultant you can never be sure how the message gets translated.

With a partner doing the interview, you can be certain there are some amounts of intra-firm politics that will distort the message that gets delivered; with a consultant’s objectivity the unvarnished findings will more likely be delivered.

With the partner, you probably can’t learn much about other law departments and their relations with their firms; a consultant could tell you differences he or she sees in your arrangement.

With the partner, they probably have little experience with such interviews or how to pull together themes; with consultants they have done it before and know what to listen for and how to summarize the points.