The Legal Naughty & Nice List

06.10.11 christmas stockWell, tis the season and all.

I’m checking out BTI Consulting‘s latest survey where GCs name the most arrogant law firms, and there are no real surprises.

According to Law360′s article, GCs Name Most Arrogant Law Firms:

As the legal industry rebounds from the recession, cockiness is also on the rise, as the number of firms deemed arrogant in a new survey of corporate counsel has ticked upward since last year and doubled from what it was two years ago.

The 2013 BTI Client Services A-Team report, published by The BTI Consulting Group (Wellesley, Mass.), suggests that many of the nation’s legal powerhouses have returned to their smug old ways, no longer desperate for business and no longer willing to budge on fees or otherwise give ground to clients.

So who made the list??

This year’s naughty list includes: Skadden, Kirkland & EllisCravath, Hogan Lovells, Jones Day, King & Spalding, Latham, Quinn Emanuel, Sullivan & Cromwell, Wachtell and Weil Gotshal.

Lest one equates arrogance with service, only four of these firms made BTI’s Top 30 in client service.

As for the Nice List? Here’s the 2013 Client Service 30. The top 10 are:

  1. Jones Day
  2. Mayer Brown
  3. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  4. McGuireWoods
  5. Seyfarth Shaw
  6. Thompson Hine
  7. Kirkland & Ellis
  8. Faegre Baker Daniels
  9. Baker & McKenzie
  10. Sullivan & Cromwell

And, yes, Virginia, it is possible to make the Client Service 30, while avoiding the Arrogance list entirely. Just ask nice guys Seyfarth Shaw, Thompson Hine, and Littler Mendelson.

So, what does this mean? Not too much, obviously. When it comes to “bet the farm” litigation, the “like” in “know, like and trust” can often times be thrown out the window. You need your team to win at any cost, and you’ll put up with that “arrogance,” along with the hourly rates of over $1000.

However, are you going to put up with that type of arrogance or behavior when the stakes are not as high? Or will you take your business elsewhere? Seeing the profits and revenues of the AmLaw 100 and 200, I’d say a lot of that work is being spread about the country. And, according to the Go-To Law Firms ® list, not one firm holds a lock on any one company.

As the recession did show us, corporate counsel are willing to take their business elsewhere, and that is not about to change any time soon.

So while making the arrogance list might lend a smile to the smuggest of the smug, it should also raise eyebrows of caution.

Number one on the client service list, Jones Day, is quite capable of handling any work that the other firms might have. Sure, they are on the arrogance list as well, but not so high as to make the news stories.

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If you don’t know BTI, they slice and dice all the fun information on how general counsel see, view, and hire outside counsel; how and if they will spend money; what drives the purchasing decisions. Great pie charts. You can download (for a price) the full BTI survey here.

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