Top 5 Reasons Outside Counsel Are Fired

By Andrew Lu on October 08, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Thirty-percent of in house counsel fired their outside counsel last year, reports Above the Law.

With the highly coveted nature of corporate clients, and the wining and dining that goes on in procuring such clients, the 30-percent seems high. That's not even mentioning the costs, time, and hassle that come with changing outside counsel.

Nevertheless, for a variety of reasons, in house counsel are firing firms at an alarmingly high rate. Here are the top five reasons given as to why outside counsel are fired, writes ATL's Staci Zaretsky:

  1. Too expensive (21% of responders). When you read about $1,200/hour billing rates by some firms, it's not too surprising to hear that costs are the number one reason that companies fire firms. The economy is in a slump, profits are down, and this reality is not always reflected in a firm's billing rates.
  2. Bad advice and lack of expertise (18%). It's one thing to pay a lot for competent, expert opinion. It's another thing to pay a lot for bad advice. Companies like Apple and Samsung can stomach huge legal bills, but these companies likely have a very short leash when it comes to bad advice.
  3. Job ended (16%). Oftentimes, a firm is only retained for a specific matter. Not every company can afford full-time inside and outside counsel, and outside counsel may only be needed for a discrete matter.
  4. Poor service (15%). Every client wants to feel like the most important client. Companies who are put on the back-burner and suffer through innumerable delays are more likely to find a firm that will value them.
  5. Key partner/lawyer left the firm (11%). Many companies develop relationships with individuals attorneys as opposed to the firm itself. So when a partner leaves, the company follows.

To no surprise, money and relationships seem to be driving reasons that companies fire outside counsel.

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