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Reasons why French law departments change law firms (hint: same as US departments)

A study of French law departments, conducted by Juristes Associes in 2006, included almost 100 legal departments. Two-thirds of them departments acknowledged that they had changed law firms in the previous two years – which by the way means that one third stood pat for those two years. As the report summarized its findings: “Legal divisions seem to be relatively satisfied with the services rendered by their law firms” (See my post of Feb. 19, 2007 on firing firms in the US and references cited.).

When the legal departments have left firms, it was for the following reasons:

“Not responsive enough” (36%)
“Too expensive” (32%)
“New specialty required” (20%)
“In-house recruitment” (10%)
“Non-compliance with lead times” (8%)
“Law firm has split” (5%)

A few other reasons cited were conflicts of interest, “demands from shareholders,” and “the creation of a new legal division.”

Wherever lawyers are in-house, they value law firms that treat them like value clients. If law firms don’t call back promptly and hop to it as needed, they will soon find themselves not needed.