Law Firms

U.K. Companies Cutting Number of Outside Law Firms

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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