BTI Consulting Group recently announced the results of its sixth annual client service survey, with the conclusion that corporate America is not very happy with their law firms. Of the more than 250 corporate counsel and top executives interviewed over the past year, only 32% said that they would recommend a firm that worked for them.
Of those firms who were in the top 30 for client service, Sidley Austin topped the list. In a separate list of the most arrogant law firms, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom took top honors. It was notable that California and other West Coast firms were well-represented on the former list and New York and other East Coast firms seemed to dominate the latter. Several firms are clearly working their way up the service list, including Morrison & Foerster and Reed Smith.
While the survey provides useful data for most firms for understanding their public persona and marketing themselves to prospective clients, those who didn’t do well or who figured prominently in the arrogant and other undesirable lists should do their own risk management review and come up with strategies to address their shortfalls. Understanding the firm’s values and how the culture reflects them, possibly reevaluating and redirecting either or both, educating both associates and partners in client service, raising the firm’s emotional intelligence, and setting a timeline to confirm by marketplace and client surveys the effectiveness of the firm’s new policies are possible strategies. In a competitive marketplace where clients are king, doing nothing is not a reasonable course.