US advisers win increased confidence from in-housers

US law firms received a vote of confidence last week as chief legal officers reported increased satisfaction in their law firms for the first time in six years.

An annual chief legal officer (CLO) survey, carried out by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and management consultants Altman Weil, has found that in-house counsel are generally more satisfied with their law firms.

Of the CLOs, 48 per cent said they have fired or have considered firing one of their outside law firms in 2005. This is down 18 per cent from 2004 and is below 50 per cent for the first time since the survey was launched in 2000.

Altman Weil principal Dan DiLucchio said: “I believe that law firms are trying to pay closer attention to their clients’ needs and critical service factors. Law departments have converged their law firms and eliminated many that were marginal performers.”

Hiring should be lower in the coming years, with 35 per cent of CLOs anticipating hiring new in-house lawyers in the next 12 months, compared with 37 per cent in 2004.