Bigger Isn’t Always Better When It Comes to Outside Counsel

By Ruth E. Piller, Litigation News Associate Editor

Corporate legal clients once again seem to be developing an affinity for small law firms—notwithstanding the merger mania of recent years and the perception that large corporations want only to hire megafirms. With increasing frequency, the chief legal officers of leading corporations are now retaining small law firms and even solo practitioners.

“I do believe that we are seeing an increase in inside counsel using smaller, boutique firms,” says Horace W. Jordan Jr., Lake Forest, IL, cochair of the Section of Litigation’s Corporate Counsel Committee. Jordan, who is general counsel for an equipment leasing company, believes that two dynamics are responsible for this change: “the billable hour and a feeling that the smaller firm might have more flexibility in both arranging billings and understanding the client and its business.”

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