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Offering law firms publicity in return for favorable pricing

A piece in Legal Week (Sept.8, 2005) discussed keeping secret the decisions by law departments on choosing panels in the U.K. It brought to mind the potency of law departments publicizing that they have selected a particular firm to handle a major area of work. Dupont even ran space ads praising its primary law firms. That marketing clout might be swapped by a savvy firm for additional concessions on the economics of the arrangements.

On the other hand, some law departments wish to keep very quiet their arrangements with law firms. In general, I favor publicity on both sides, in part because the arrangement will inevitably become public knowledge and because marketing publicity has cash value in negotiations with law firms.