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BigLaw Reluctant to Respond to Open Casting Call

Large firms may be suffering in this economy, but apparently not so much that they're willing to respond to open casting calls. Last month, I posted about how Houston-based FMC Technologies turned to social media site Legal OnRamp to find innovative law firms willing to offer alternative billing arrangements. Now The Am Law Daily covers the results of those efforts.

Roughly 50 law firms firms downloaded FMC's application form from Legal OnRamp and 32 will proceed to the next phase of the selection process. But only 17 of the 50 firms that submitted applications are Am Law 100 firms, said Jefferey Carr, FMC's general counsel. Carr believes that firms may not have known about the competition or perhaps some were simply apathetic. But Peter Zeughauser, a law firm consultant, suggests another reason:

Big firms may be struggling, but if they're good, they can still command the same rates they always have. Big law firms just aren't interested in competing for work on that kind of pricing, he says. It's just not economical for them.

As for those firms that were rejected, some requested blanket conflict waivers, while others were too far from FMC's headquarters (which seems like an odd reason -- since presumably, the kinds of innovative firms that FMC is seeking would be accustomed to working remotely). But the most pathetic reason that some firms didn't make the cut is because they did not have an electronic billing system in place. At a time when even moms working from home-based businesses are able to set up PayPal accounts to charge for products, there's simply no excuse for the inability of some firms to remit invoices and accept payment electronically.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 16, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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