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The Red Zone

EXPLAINING THE INSIDER/OUTSIDER DISCONNECT

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Our last column explored the disconnect between how in-house and outside counsel view the work of the latter. The reader will recall that in a recent survey, 62% of law firms gave themselves an "A" for overall performance during the past 3 years. Only 19% of in-house counsel scored them that high.

There are a few possible explanations.

1. The in-house sector radically changed its value proposition in the year or so separating the surveys.

2. Radically different samples between the previous surveys may have been polled. Even if true, it is cold comfort to law firms that they can never know which of these two radiclly different "priority sectors" of their current clients or prospects represents.

3. In-house counsel change their fundamental priorities as their own moods dictate or, more probably, as internal pressures and external business conditions change, I'll bet on this explanation being the best one. If I'm not right in every instance, I'll be right often enough.

4. Conclusion: law firm sellers must somehow shift with their clients and prospects. It's a formidable challenge, really.

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