GCs: Big Firms Getting Hired Over Competitors

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By Michael Greene

Aug. 13 — Higher rates may not be deterring companies from selecting larger law firms when it comes to new work, according to an Aug. 12 BTI Consulting Group blog post.

As part of an ongoing annual survey of corporate counsel at companies with more than $750 million in revenue, BTI found that in the last year, 60 percent of law firm hires went to firms with 650 attorneys or more, even though these firms are billing nearly a third more per hour than their mid-sized competitors.

More Value?

Clients believe that they are getting value from the rate premium, the blog post states. It added that the burden is on mid-sized firms to show they have a “better understanding of their potential clients' targeted objectives than larger law.”

BTI also suggested that larger firms are standing out because they simply are more aggressive in their pitches and pursuits and “showing more interest in their potential clients.”

The blog noted that showing more interest in potential clients is a place where any firm, large or small, “can shine—just by asking.”

Meanwhile, some firms are only getting bigger. According to a recent survey, law firm mergers are at a record rate this year.

`Red Herring.'

In an Aug. 13 interview, BTI President and blog author Michael Rynowecer told Bloomberg BNA that higher rates are a “red herring.”

Larger law firms are “clearly doing their homework” when meeting with potential clients, Rynowecer said. When clients walk in the door, these firms are showing that they have a knowledge of the clients' industry and issues, he said.

Rynowecer also noted that clients typically prefer law firms that haven't been merged into a larger firm. He added, however, that like higher rates, this issue is a “red herring,” and not usually the reason for bringing in new work. Instead, he continued, “what is important is that you can show potential clients that you understand them.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Greene in Washington at mgreene@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Yin Wilczek at ywilczek@bna.com

The release is available at http://www.bticonsulting.com/themadclientist/