US survey finds gulf in expectations

US law firms expect to receive far more work in the next three years than US in-house counsel expect to send them, a nationwide survey has revealed.

While less than 5 per cent of in-house counsel intend to send more corporate work to law firms, 58 per cent of firms expect to get more work, according to a Corporate Legal Times and Arthur Andersen survey.

The annual survey, which this year got responses from 336 legal departments and 71 law firms, generally finds a discrepancy between the views of in-house legal departments and law firms but this year's gulf was larger than ever.

The differences applied to virtually all areas of the law. While 48 per cent of law firms expect to get more sales and acquisitions work, only 15 per cent of in-house teams expected to send more work to their law firms and 70 per cent expected no change.

Law firms were even more optimistic about IP work; 70 per cent expected more in the next three years but only 16 per cent of in-house counsel believe this will happen, most expecting the amount of work to remain the same. The pattern is similar for litigation, employment, anti-trust and capital markets work.