The biggest single reason general counsel are dropping law firms is price, according to a survey of top in-house lawyers at major global corporations.
The study, by UK-based market research company Acritas, revealed a range of reasons given by 132 general counsel in companies with revenues of more than US$1bn for giving firms their marching orders.
Top (22%) was that they were too expensive, followed by lack of demand (16%), quality of expertise/results (14%), poor service/slow response (14%), and a key contact leaving the firm (11%).
In a question to which 404 general counsel responded, one in three said they had dropped a law firm in the past year.
The data comes from the interim results of Acritas’s Sharplegal 2012 Global Elite research, which seeks to determine trends from the views of over 1,400 international ‘elite’ buyers of legal services, part of a wider survey of more than 2,500 general counsel in businesses operating in 40 countries.
Acritas CEO Lisa Hart Shepherd said: “It is frustrating to read some of the reasons clients give for moving their business elsewhere. In so many cases, it’s clear that firms could have easily prevented the losses if they had had better ‘early warning’ systems in place – through a structured client feedback programme, for example.”
She added: “[Our] research shows that the key to client retention lies in the strength of the relationship – aided by open, clear and ongoing client communication. Checking on a regular basis that clients feel they are getting good service and value is a proven way of not only keeping but growing their business.
“Clients want to be asked. In most cases, they are passionate about their business and value law firms which share and demonstrate that passion for their business too.”