I did not think that U.S. general counsel typically get out and visit their key law firms on any regular basis. Yet Marcus Linden, writing in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 17, Sept. 2009 at 22, says that “a London-based GC can get out every year and meet with all her firms — developing great personal relationships that enable her to understand exactly what they’re doing for relative to their proportionate share of her companies legal spend. Her U.S. counterpart finds that the sheer number of firms makes it difficult to build similar relationships and to have his detailed knowledge of their activities.”
Linden had written earlier that he thinks comparable U.S. general counsel deal with three to four times more law firms, which makes visits more burdensome. He also notes how large the Us is compared to the more compact UK.
No doubt law firms try to get on the calendar of the chief legal officer of their key clients, but I do not think the reverse is true.