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Loss of loyalty: How global law firms are disappointing clients

Global law firms are failing to meet client expectations on service excellence, quality of advice and billing practices, says Lisa Hart Shepherd

30 October 2013

There is a saying that those who expect little are rarely disappointed. In the legal world, however, expectations run high and there is ample room for reality to fall short of the ideal.

To prove the point, this year more general counsel decided to sever links with law firms than in 2012. The reasons for these dismissals were varied. However, in nearly three quarters of the cases, the fundamental reason for the loss was that the firm failed to meet client expectations in some way.

Granted, a certain degree of client loss is inevitable, due to factors outside law firms’ control – for example, matters coming to an end or conflicts of interest. Yet, as our research1 suggests that only around a quarter of overall dismissals fall into this category, it is worth examining the relationship risk factors which are within firms’ powers.

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