Morning Briefing: What do GCs value in law firms?

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What do GCs value in law firms?
Firms named by general counsel as ‘elite’ show similarities, according to a new report from BTI Consulting. The twenty-six firms are all innovative and forward-thinking rather than holding onto outdated ideas and practices. The top five that fit the bill to be considered elite are the same this year as last; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Jones Day, Baker & McKenzie, Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins. Skadden has been number one in the poll for the last four years. BTI’s president Michael Rynowecer says that the elite firms make improving the client experience part of their culture and work hard to ensure that their brand messages demonstrate this. DLA Piper was held up as an example of a firm that has increased its perception among the GCs surveyed by using methods such as webinars and social media to gain authority.
Slater & Gordon retail shareholders to get less than institutions
Retail shareholders will get a tiny fraction of the value that institutional investors got following an $890 million capital raising by Slater & Gordon. The Australian reports that the law firm’s institutional shareholders received $1.13 for each share entitlement sold in an auction last week while retail shareholders will receive just 1c. It’s not unusual for retail shareholders to receive lower value than their institutional counterparts. The article also highlights disquiet among some shareholders over the firm’s $1.225 billion acquisition of Quindell. However the deal will more than double Slater’s UK market value.
GC says in-house teams cost less than external paralegals
The general counsel of multinational conglomerate 3M says that law firms charge more for the services of a paralegal than it costs to use an in-house lawyer. Speaking at an event organised by LexisNexix in the US Joe Ottersetter said that the hourly cost of using an in-house lawyer is U$211 (AU$269). He said that two-thirds of 3M’s legal spend was on external law firms in 2012 but it is now a 50/50 split with the in-house team.
Singapore pledges to help those who can’t afford lawyers
Singapore’s chief justice has pledged to do more to help those who appear in criminal courts in the city-state without legal representation. Sundaresh Menon said the move is part of wider improvements of accessibility to justice and wants defendants to be able to get legal advice earlier in the process. Currently two-fifths of criminal cases have an unrepresented defendant at the pre-trial stage.