Survey: Clients unhappy with outside firms

Seventy percent of large companies are so dissatisfied with their primary law firm that they would not recommend it to others, according to a survey of large and Fortune 1,000 companies released this week by The BTI Consulting Group. This deep dip in client satisfaction, reports BTI, promises to drive dollars into the hands of a new set of law firms, unsettling the status quo.

The study, How Clients Hire, Fire and Spend: Landing the World’s Best Clients, also found that 53.7 percent of large companies ousted their primary law firms in the past 18 months. More than half reported that they plan to try at least one new law firm for substantive matters in 2006.

Among other findings:

  • On average, companies used 52 outside firms, but 40 percent of their spending went to just two of those firms.
  • Companies added an average of four new firms to their core rosters in 2005, additions driven largely by dissatisfaction with their primary firms.
  • Convergence continues, with companies planning to reduce their rosters of core firms by another 40 percent over the next three years.

Failures by law firms to keep pace with their clients’ changing needs are a key source of companies’ dissatisfaction, BTI principal Marcie L. Borgal told me Friday. “Law firms are falling behind on this,” she said. “They are not doing a good job of keeping up with what is important to their clients.”