In December 2015, there were three important legal sector research results which caught my eye:

Average growth rate

The quarterly Deloitte legal sector survey said that in the quarter ending July 2015, the average fee income growth amongst the top 100 UK law firms was 6.8% and that a third of this increase was due to merger activity (a half in firms in the 51-100 category).

However, whilst many firms achieved a modest improvement in average rates, amongst the top 10 firms fee income per fee-earner remained flat.

Service delivery and quality above value for money

Legal Week Intelligence Best Legal Adviser report – which interviews 900 UK general counsel and other senior executives – found that clients rate quality of service delivery as highly of legal advice and found value for money is less of a priority.

12 criteria were rated – 96% deemed “service delivery” and “quality of legal advice” as the joint most important measures. 88% said “value for money” was important – putting it in fifth place behind “communication and responsiveness” and “commercial approach and understanding of my business”.

Law firms ranking highly included: Slaughter & May, RPC, Bird & Bird, Bond Dickinson and Addleshaw Goddard.

Arrogance and success

The 2016 BTI Client Services A-Team report in the United States found that at least 55 firms are at least occasionally seen as smug by General Counsel. This is a slight drop from the previous year when 63 firms made the list.

Interestingly, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom came top of the arrogant list but also ranked number one in the report’s Client Service 30 – a list of the finest firms. Half of the firms that made the Client Service list were also called arrogant including DLA Piper LLP. Three firms appeared on the Client Services 30 list without being seen as arrogant: Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Arnold & Porter and BakerHostetler.