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U.K. Companies Cutting Number of Outside Law Firms

Posted Nov 26, 2007 8:39 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.K.’s largest companies are winnowing the number of law firms on panels cleared for legal work.

The average number of firms on a panel is below five, compared to seven last year, according to a survey by Legal Week. Three-quarters of the companies surveyed said they reviewed the firms on the panels at least every two years.

British Energy general counsel Robert Armour told the publication there is a benefit to smaller panels. “Having too many firms on a panel loosens relationships and spreads things too thinly,” he said. “You invest a lot in a panel exercise, and I would rather invest in a lasting relationship.”

The study also found that a significant number of companies reported their outside counsel’s performance was below expectations. Client satisfaction lags behind expectations in the key areas of quality of legal service; service delivery; quality of commercial advice; and responsiveness, personal relationships and accessibility.

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