Inhouse counsel fail to control outside counsel for many reasons. One is to maintain cordial relationships with future prospective employers. This may change and, if so, could make developing lawyer ratings easier. 

In the era of the incredible shrinking law firm, can inhouse counsel reasonably expect to land jobs in BigLaw? I suspect that BigLaw is no longer the parachute or escape hatch it once was. Cynthia Cotts’ Wall Street Lawyers Dumped for Lower-Priced Boutiques (, 6 April 2009) suggests that economics at last trump cordiality and long-standing relationships.

If this is really a sea change, then perhaps we will finally see good law firm ratings by inhouse counsel. Ratings of both individual lawyers and firms would help clients select the most appropriate and cost-effective counsel. Aside from the usual “quality” ratings, there are objective ratings that would help:
– Propose a budget and deliver regular variance reports
– Respond quickly to questions
– Takes time to understand the company and industry
– Offers to use low cost resources such as managed reviewed services.
– Good knowledge management system that saves time

If clients are less concerned about landing jobs at law firms, perhaps they will be more willing to participate in or even initiate ratings. A lawyer rating service may be a good counter cyclical business.