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Fuel on the firing discussion and a methodological uncertainty

From the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association survey of its members for the 2007 In-House Corporate Counsel Barometer, at 28, comes this quote in connection with how many law firm departments have terminated a law firm in the past year. “Three in ten in-house corporate counsel work in organizations that have terminated a law firm(s) in the past year.”

I note in passing, once again, the infrequency with which law departments fire law firms (See my post of Feb. 19, 2007 and references cited.).

One methodological distortion about statistics on terminations of law firms lurks in this survey. Large law departments, as compared to smaller departments, are more likely to have fired a law firm, for the simple reason that bigger departments hire more law firms. Because this survey draws its conclusions based on individual respondents, not on law departments, it is possible that more than one lawyer from the same large law departments completed the survey. This methodological flaw suggests that the actual number of law departments that have recently fired a firm is lower than the 30 percent figure.