Opportunities for legal work for small and mid-sized firms from corporate counsel still exist in this economy, in fact, maybe more so due to the higher costs/fees associated with BigLaw firms.

The 20th Annual Survey of General Counsel, published in the August 2010 issue of Inside Counsel magazine continues to point out what in-house counsel like and don’t like about their outside law firms.

What they don’t like:

  • Failure to understand their business (only 41% “say law firms understand their business”);
  • Not “actively seek(ing) ways to reduce costs,” according to 65% of survey respondents; and
  • Fifty-one percent “don’t think law firms recognize their budget constraints."

What they would like to see:

  • Firms seeking creative solutions – 82%;
  • Industry-related experience (86% want this); and
  • Responsiveness – 99.5% (that’s pretty clear!).

What surprised me, quite frankly, was that the survey tells us that 68.5% “are happy with their law firm relationships.” While many law firms would be tickled pink with that figure, remember it is telling us that more than 31% of in-house counsel are not happy with their outside law firm relationships.

Therein lies the business development opportunities for other firms, especially if they take corporate counsels’ likes and dislikes to heart.