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Do law-firm brands influence in-house counsel who hire firms?

Legal Week, Vol. 9, Oct. 18, 2007 at 1, describes an ambitious effort to assign a brand value to the world’s largest law firms. A professional services association, The Managing Partners’ Forum (MPF), and a consulting firm, Brand Finance, will evaluate around 200 law firms in the study, which is due out by May of 2008 and will be freely available.

The rating of brand value, “designed to measure the intangible value associated with the law firm’s name and client links” is likely to take into account “client quality and loyalty and the strength of the management and people.” This ambitious venture will give law departments another vantage point when they want to select law firms. After all, brand value of the firm is certainly one aspect. Even more insightful will be assessments of the management prowess of law firms and their staff quality.

The positive benefits to law firms of a widespread good reputation (a brand) has cropped up repeatedly on this blog (See my posts of Nov. 19, 2005 on a patronizing view of law-firm cachet; June 12, 2005 with an assumption that name-brand firms get the nod in very serious matters; Feb. 20, 2006 on how frequently massive lawsuits end up with well-known law firms; Sept. 10, 2005 on brand-name firms; June 11, 2007 for a neuroscience basis for a well-known brand’s sway; June 10, 2007 on alternative billing gaining less traction with household-name firms; and May 27, 2007 that media coverage of firms matters little to Canadian in-house lawyers.).

Sometimes, however, a prestigious reputation doesn’t carry the day (See my posts of May 4 and May 23, 2007 about general counsel not hiring firms just because of they are a household name; May 23, 2007 about a law firm’s prestige needing to penetrate the C-suite to benefit the firm; March 23, 2006 on pigments used in marketing; and May 26, 2007 that profits per partner don’t turn the head of general counsel.).