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The Red Zone

IN-HOUSE DISCONNECT Cont'd.

By Allan Colman, Managing Director, the Closers Group: www.closersgroup.com

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Recent surveys telescope shifting client priorities. For example, INSIDE COUNSEL'S "18th Annual Survey of General Counsel," published in July, 2007, shows a multi-level disconnect. On the one hand, there is the predicatble synapse between in-house and outside perceptions of 68% of outside counsel believe the level of service they provide has improved over the past five years, while only 29% of in-house counsel agree. Law firms are self-delusional, according to these data, as 62% gave themselves an "A" for overall performance over the past three years. Only 19% of in-house counsel scored them that high. Gulp!

Yet consider the disconnect within in-house ranks that is also glaringly apparent from survey to survey. The INSIDE cOUNSEL survey reports that law firms focus on understanding client businesses and client exigencies as the surefire way to improve service. Indeed BTI's 2006 "Key Trends in Client Relationships and Satisfaction with Law Firms" taps enough in-house opinion to confirm the perception that such "client knowledge" is the direct route to superior and lasting client relationships.

But then switch back to the INSIDE COUNSEL survey. There, in-house respondents emphatically said that reducing costs and improving efficiency are the overriding tasks for law firms seeking to solidify client relationships. Nowhere does this extremely specific priority appear on the BTI scale.

We'll cover the possible explanations next time.

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