In Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 18, Feb. 2010 at 11, a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges (James Quinn) summarized one of the insights the firm derived from a client satisfaction survey. The firm identified “an overwhelming desire on the part of clients to get to know and work directly with our associates. The sophisticated clients understand that the associates of the ones doing a lot of the work. They want to know who they are, meet them and judge their competence for themselves.”
It makes absolute sense to know the lawyers charging time to your matters, including the associates. We mostly read about prohibitions on firms’ use of first and second year associates (See my post of May 11, 2007: complaints about associates with 13 references.). But I also hear in-house lawyers commend the use of associates who are five-to-seven years out of law school because they often provide excellent value. In any case, if you have a core team of lawyers at a firm, you should make an effort to know them not only professionally but also personally. Finally, and somewhat snarkily, a huge firm like Weil Gotshal operates with leverage, so they want to hear that clients want to work directly with their associates.