An article in the November issue of Litigation News, published by the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, caught my eye, for obvious reasons. The article, written by Ruth E. Piller and entitled “Bigger Isn’t Always Better When It Comes to Outside Counsel,” reports that increasingly, corporate clients are relying on small firms and solo practitioners for representation.
According to the article, small firms offer flexibility on billing arrangements and an opportunity for a corporate client to be “big fish in a small pond,” which may not be the case when the client is being represented by a large firm, which has neither the ability nor the desire to be flexible about billing, and, because of its roster of clients, can’t give the client the attention that the client may want or expect. Plus, ever-improving technology means that small firms can enjoy advantages that previously were available only to larger firms.
Although large firms are in no danger of being replaced by small ones, they no longer represent the only option for corporations seeking representation. Consequently, as I’ve written previously, large firms compete not only with each other for business, but with much smaller firms, which is an unfamiliar position for many of them. Legal marketing guru Larry Bodine has written extensively about the changing climate for legal services, including this post about how to get business from corporate clients.