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Modest satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) by U.S. companies with law firms on four areas of litigation representation

The most recent Annual Litigation Trends Survey Report of Fulbright & Jaworski presents data on levels of satisfaction the responding companies feel about how well outside counsel meet their litigation needs. Displayed at page 16, the two points that struck me were the critical overall views and the gulf between U.S. and UK respondents.

“Electronic discovery,” “budget forecast reliability,” “overall cost management,” and “pricing and alternative fee management” all fell at around eight out of ten or more were either “satisfied” or dissatisfied (the chart shows the percentages of respondents who were completely satisfied or very satisfied). That luke-warm assessment is pretty damning. Perhaps clients are so peeved by being sued that it is hard to feel good about the law firm that you have to pay large amounts to defend you. Even so, the indictment of how those firms handle discovery, cost projections, invoice amounts, and creative pricing is strong.

The chart also shows the corresponding assessments by UK respondents. Overall, three times as many of them were on the positive side of satisfied (completely satisfied or very satisfied) as were companies on the other side of the Atlantic. Do British firms perform that much better? Are UK clients less demanding? The gap seems hard to explain.