And the survey said…

Very few in-house lawyers are willing to talk on-the-record about rates, and even fewer law firms are.

It’s all rather cloak and dagger, which is why The Lawyer’s annual rates survey causes such a stir (see story and leader).

The figures reveal what law firms don’t want the world to know. Whether you are paying by the hour or using fixed fees, private practice lawyers are now so desperate for work they are offering unprecedented discounts.

In one instance, revealed to The Lawyer by an anonymous tipster in a poorly lit car park, a magic circle firm quoted £1m for a job, only to be undercut by a silver circle firm offering to do the same work for a staggering 60 per cent less.

What’s unique about this survey is that it goes behind the published rates and looks at what clients are actually paying. It’s little wonder that some law firms don’t want this information to see the light of day.

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Also on TheLawyer.com: A look at the strategic decisions behind Berwin Leighton Paisner’s lateral hiring spree; the general counsel of Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury on late nights on red carpets; and Clifford Chance to reward employees for their corporate responsibility efforts.