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How happy are law departments with their legal services panels?

New research from Lawyers Weekly and Momentum Intelligence reveals, for the first time, the satisfaction levels of in-house teams with their external providers. While firms are performing well on some metrics, the findings show there is certainly room for improvement.

user iconLawyers Weekly 16 February 2023 Careers
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What is the Legal Firm of Choice Survey?

Now in its eighth iteration, the Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking is a key element of the Legal Firm of Choice Survey, which identifies the most sought-after private legal practices across the country.

This latest survey was conducted between 14 November and 13 December 2022 and received 462 responses in total, recording the attitudes, priorities and perceptions of legal professionals in Australia — including 104 corporate counsel.


Earlier this week, Lawyers Weekly published the Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking for 2022–23 and detailed which external providers in-house teams worked with in the last 12 months. Yesterday (Wednesday, 15 February), Lawyers Weekly unveiled findings that one-quarter of lawyers plan to leave their current firms and will do so in the coming months.


For the first time, the Legal Firm of Choice Survey surveyed in-house respondents, exploring — among other things — the volume of law firms utilised by one’s law department in the past year, whether those in-house professionals would recommend their chosen firms to others, and how they would rank the performance of the firms engaged.

Among the questions asked of in-house survey respondents was how happy they are with the performance of the firms on their legal services panels on various metrics.


With regard to the following question — “Please rate your satisfaction with your external law firms’ performance on the following factors” — respondents scored their firm providers on communication, cyber and data security, expertise, quality, and value for money.


Two in three in-house counsel are happy with how well their chosen law firms communicate with them, with 23 per cent saying they are “extremely satisfied” and 44 per cent saying they are “satisfied”.

One-quarter (25 per cent) are neutral on this metric, while just 8 per cent of respondents said that they are “dissatisfied” or “extremely dissatisfied”.

Cyber and data security

Less than half of corporate lawyers appear happy with how their firms are performing when it comes to the all-important issues of cyber and data, with just 16 per cent saying they are “extremely satisfied” and 31 per cent saying they are “satisfied” with their external providers regarding security.

Incredibly, more than half (51 per cent) are neutral on the subject — perhaps indicating a lack of understanding or appreciation for what is required in this space.

Pleasingly, though, only 2 per cent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction on this metric.


Nearly four in five in-house lawyers are pleased with their firms’ levels of expertise on required subjects, with 78 per cent of respondents feeling either “extremely satisfied” or “satisfied” on this metric.

Just 16 per cent are neutral, and 6 per cent are “dissatisfied” or “extremely dissatisfied”.


Similarly, three in four (73 per cent) of corporate counsel are happy with the quality of work being produced by their external providers, with 25 per cent saying they are “extremely satisfied” and 48 per cent saying they are “satisfied”.

One in five (21 per cent) are neutral on the subject, and 7 per cent are “dissatisfied” or “extremely dissatisfied”, denoting room for improvement for almost one-quarter of firms on panels.

Value for money

Finally, just over half (53 per cent) of in-house lawyers are happy with the pricing structures offered by their external providers, with 11 per cent responding that they are “extremely satisfied” and 42 per cent noting they are “satisfied” with the value they get for what they pay.

One-third (33 per cent) are neutral on the subject, and — slightly worryingly — 14 per cent of respondents said that they are either “dissatisfied” or “extremely dissatisfied”.


Speaking about the results, Lawyers Weekly editor Jerome Doraisamy said that, even though there is certainly room for improvement, it is pleasing to see that so many in-house teams are mostly pleased with the performance of their legal services panels.

“Given that the legal services marketplace has — like all other sectors — had to endure such an extraordinary few years, it is a testament to law firms across the country that, on key metrics, private practice teams are upholding their duties with aplomb,” he said.

“However, with a potential recession looming, and increased competition in the market, it will be critical that firms not take their feet off the pedal and ensure that their clients can continue to weather myriad market fluctuations.” 

If there are particular elements of the Legal Firm of Choice Survey, or the Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking, that you or your business would want to learn about, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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