American Lawyer magazine published in its December issue a survey of law firm leaders. Some interesting results on legal process outsourcing (LPO) and client interviews. 

For AmLaw’s take on their own survey, read Annual Survey Shows Law Firm Leaders Wary but Confident. I found two question in the underlying survey at Law Firm Leaders Survey 2008 of particular interest.

Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO). Asked “Over the next ten years, do you think your firm will outsource more of its legal work to lower-cost jurisdictions either offshore or within the U.S.?” 38% said yes and 62% no. Given some of the prior BigLaw partner comments about LPO, I am pleasantly surprised that the 1/3 of firms expect to outsource.

Client Relations Asked “In the last 12 months, how many of the firm’s 20 top billing clients have you met with to discuss the client’s satisfaction with your firm’s performance?” 54% met with fewer than five clients. Only 18% met with more than half. With the plethora of articles about the importance of client feedback over the last 15 years, I am shocked by these results.

Perhaps if firms engaged their clients more, they would decide to outsource as a way to deliver higher value. Of course, the fact that the clients don’t insist on meeting with their outside counsel to discuss the relationship supports my view that buyers are meek and unwilling to exercise their market power.