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Why Doesn't Biglaw Want to Compete?

If I ever had to hire a lawyer for a contentious matter, I'd want a firm that was willing to fight and willing to do anything, within the bounds of the law, to win. So that's why Ron Friedmann's recent post about Biglaw's reluctance to compete for business through RFPs -- and in-house counsel's concommitant willingness to cave to law firm demands -- leaves me with a negative impression of large firms as well as in-house counsel.

As Friedmann describes, many in-house counsel report disatisfaction with their outside attorneys. RFPs are one way that in-house counsel can procure outside counsel at lower rates since firms compete against each other for accounts. However, as this article discusses, RFPs never took off because so few firms participate.

Why don't in-house counsel persist with RFPs? In my view, they'd get the best lawyer for the corporation by taking firms willing to compete and willing, as Friedmann suggests, to look for cost-cutting strategies to prevail in an RFP. As Friedmann points out, there's still little pressure on law firm rates; they'll continue to go up unless clients impose some cost limits, such as those that can be gained through an RPF. When will law firm rates grow so high that RFPs will become a more accepted method of procuring high-quality legal service?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 17, 2006 at 04:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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