Jones Day takes top spot in client popularity survey

According to the survey by research and management consultants BTI Consulting Group – dubbed 'The Survey of Client Service Performance for Law Firms' – the firm beat off highly profitable New York firms such as Shearman & Sterling and Weil Gotshal & Manges, neither of which made it into the top 30.

Judging categories

Overall best performing law firm
Client service
Client focus

Providing commitment to help

Providing value for the dollar

Understanding the client's business

Breadth of service

Helping to advise on business issues

Unprompted communication

Regional reputation

Bringing together national resources

Keeping the client informed

Legal skills

Dealing with unexpected changes

Providing quality products

Handling problems

Meeting technical specifications

Anticipating the client's needs

International capabilities

But the survey found that most Fortune 1,000 companies are largely dissatisfied with their law firms. Only 24.7 per cent of companies recommended their primary firms.
The survey's introduction said: “Clients tell us that their outside law firms are managing to do just enough to get by – they're doing B work, not A work. Clients are underwhelmed with the client service they're getting from their law firms now.”
The survey was based on interviews with almost 200 corporate counsel from Fortune 1,000 companies throughout the US. The consultants developed a quantitative ranking of all the law firms' client service performance across the board.
The average score of all firms nominated by clients was 18.25 – the firms in the top 30 nearly all scored more than double that.
Jones Day came out top in eight of the 20 categories (see judging categories box), and was among the top firms in the remaining 12.
London managing partner Robert Thomson said: “We're a partner-led practice, so it's just totally in tune with what we do that the partners are there to give clients the service they want to get. Obviously, we've got to keep on; this is not a short-term thing.”
Firms in the top 30 are described as the BTI Client Service A-Team.
The survey also found that, overall, smaller firms performed better for client service. It stated: “Our research found that, overall, smaller firms perform very well in the client-service arena, and compete quite strongly against the larger firms with Fortune 1,000 clients. We urge the large firms to take note.”

The BTI client service top 30
Rank Law firm Points
1 Jones Day Reavis & Pogue 135.18
2 Sullivan & Cromwell 99.52
3 McDermott Will & Emery 74.24
4 Kirkland & Ellis 73.60
5 Sidley Austin Brown & Wood 71.91
6 Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom 71.76
7 Hughes & Luce 71.66
8 Arter & Hadden 60.75
9 Baker & McKenzie 59.92
10 Hale and Dorr 58.88
11 Davis Polk & Wardwell 58.43
12 McGuireWoods 57.33
13 Mays & Valentine 53.49
14 Sutherland Asbill & Brennan 51.12
15 Snell & Wilmer 49.49
16 Holland & Knight 48.94
17 Morgan Lewis & Bockius 47.80
18 Latham & Watkins 47.28
19 Faegre & Benson 46.44
20 Porter Wright Morris & Arthur 43.11
21 Wilmer Cutler & Pickering 42.80
22 Brobeck Phleger & Harrison 42.70
23 Dorsey & Whitney 39.63
24 Lord Bissell & Brook 39.61
25 Vinson & Elkins 39.07
26 Ropes & Gray 36.91
27 Fenwick & West 36.18
28 Hunton & Williams 35.87
29 Howrey Simon Arnold & White 35.07
30 Simpson Thacher & Bartlett 34.87
Source: BTI Consulting