The Association of Corporate Counsel is holding its annual meeting in Boston and the big unveil tomorrow will be a new firm ranking system.
Companies that participate will rank firms not on their number of fancy law degrees or conference room decor, but instead on the things clients actually care about.
- Understanding objectives and expectations (The client wanted the case settled a month ago and you’re entering year three of litigation.)
- Efficiency and process management (Having 5 first-year associates who billed 3 hours each to “reviewing Complaint” is a good way to annoy clients early in the game.)
- Responsiveness and communication (Letting a call go to voice-mail is OK; letting the voice-mail sit there so long it is automatically deleted is generally disfavored by clients.)
- Predictable cost and budgeting skills (Budgeting for a quick mediation and a three-lawyer team for a suit that turns into a two-week trial with 12 experts. People don’t like that.)
- Results delivered and execution (Trial losses happen. Trial losses with sanctions are generally not appreciated.)
The creation of the index is part of the association’s initiative to attempt to “make progress” on the “perennial problem” that is the “disconnect between the cost of legal service and the value of the services that are provided,” ACC general counsel Susan Hackett told Corporate Counsel.
With firms struggling, clients are in a better position than ever to demand billing deals and increased efficiency. The days of bloated (and often times, it seemed, unread) bills are over. And it sounds like corporate counsel are enjoying the power the economy granted them.
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