As reported in today’s The AmLaw Daily some "Law Firms Cautious About ACC Ranking System." You may recall that the Association of Corporate Counsel announced their Value Index at last month’s annual meeting in Boston; and that it involves ranking outside law firms "based on evaluations from in-house lawyers." Apparently a number of firms aren’t too happy about that, and the anonymous nature of the evaluations.

Is it because they won’t see the evaluations, or because they’re being evaluated in the first place, that their unhappy?

Two thoughts come to mind. The chance that these evaluations will not be seen by outside law firms is nil. Even in-house counsel think that the outside law firms will get their hands on their evaluations. Why else would two thirds of them ask that their evals remain anonymous? So, it’s a foregone conclusion that law firms we’ll get to see their evaluations. Guaranteed. All they will need is one friendly in-house counsel.

Thus, it seems clear to me what firms may not like is the fact that they are being evaluated in the first place; and they may not like the evaluations, and the fact they don’t know who made them. Some consultants have even suggested that law firms “get even” by starting their own value index of in-house counsel. What bloody nonsense. I hope they were kidding. Just what a law firm needs, getting into a pissing match with the sources of its business.

The solution to all of this is quite simple. Talk to your clients. Ask them how you’re doing. Correct any problems. Then the evaluations will take care of themselves.

O-K-A-Y, I know it isn’t quite that simple. But, too few law firms even seek client feedback, and they should be very concerned about the evaluations they’ll receive. They could make a huge step toward favorable evals, if they institutionalized a client satisfaction program. End of fuss.