Report: Law Firms Struggle to Meet Corporate Counsel's Rising Expectations

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By Yin Wilczek

June 22 — Corporate counsel expect more and more from outside counsel, and it may be challenging for law firms to meet those expectations, a recent report suggests.

According to BTI Consulting Group, only 33.3 percent of corporate counsel surveyed this year recommended their primary law firm to a peer. This is a significant decrease compared to the 40.1 percent in 2014 who said they recommended their law firm to a peer.

“This marks the second biggest drop in 15 years,” BTI President Michael Rynowecer wrote in a June 17 blog post.

Expectation Gap 

According to Rynowecer, the drop can be attributed to the “client expectation gap”—the gap between a client's ever-rising expectations and the law firm's failure to keep up.

“Whatever you just did, no matter how great or unexpected, your client will treat this as your new minimum performance standard,” Rynowecer wrote. “Clients are not ungrateful; they want to improve their own performance and are under intense pressure to do so.”

According to the post, the only other time in 15 years that the percentage fell was in 2013, when only 31.4 percent of corporate counsel said they recommended their primary outside firm to a peer.

Rynowecer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yin Wilczek in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at

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