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The myth of “buyers’ market” for high end legal services

A previous post described the reluctance some prestigious clients have to push their primary law firms to reduce costs. Don’t big companies wield big clout? William Ohlemeyer, Altria’s litigation chief (Corp. Counsel, Vol. 12, Nov. 2005 at 92), bursts that bubble.

“There’s been a misconception, especially in the last five years, that there’s a buyers’ market for legal services. That’s not true.” From his perspective, with the increase in high-stakes litigation, all the big companies are competing for the same group of prominent litigators. (See my post of July 30, 2005 about concerns by even large law departments.) With mergers of large firms taking place at the current pace, the sellers’ market might tighten further.