Amid the talk of law firm mergers, it’s interesting to see what some clients are thinking.
It’s not about big platforms and ever bigger profits per partner.
An article in The Lawyer from the UK related a survey of in-house counsel by Grant Thornton about their views of law firms, particularly in the area of dispute avoidance. The results would make any managing partner squirm a bit.
The majority of inside counsel respondents wanted to spend more on dispute avoidance, and nearly 90% reported strong board support for doing so.
So this would be a source of new business for alternative dispute resolution practice groups?
Not so fast.
The respondents laid the wood on that idea a bit:
However the survey also found in-house counsel were reluctant to involve private practice firms in dispute avoidance, citing high fees, lack of business understanding, and a â€œlitigious mindsetâ€.
Note what is going on here: firms see things like ADR as a new source of business. But clients don’t just want to resolve disputes better.
They want to avoid disputes in the first place. And they don’t think their outside counsel “get it.”
If that wasn’t enough, Grant Thornton partner Toni Pincott closes the article by returning to a favorite theme haunting law firms:
â€œThey also need to rethink how they charge for these services – this is an area where hourly rates will just not be acceptable.â€