Pa. Firms Rank High on Client Service List

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Three of Pennsylvania's largest law firms also appear to be some of the most highly thought of among the largest purchasers of legal services—Fortune 1000 corporate counsel.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Reed Smith and K&L Gates earned spots on BTI Consulting Group's Client Service 30, which marks the 30 best-performing law firms in the country when it comes to client service as viewed by the clients. The list, which tracks firms' performance in 17 activities thought to drive client service, is generated after BTI conducts hundreds of interviews with corporate counsel.

For Morgan Lewis, its perception in the marketplace took a noticeable leap forward, with the firm moving from 25th on BTI's ranking last year to fourth this year among the 650 core group of law firms used by the Fortune 1000. This is the 13th year in a row Morgan Lewis has landed in the top 30.

According to the report, the firm received honors in all 17 of the categories tracked by BTI, which include breadth of services, bringing together national resources, anticipating the clients' needs, an innovative approach and unprompted communication.

Of the four activities noted as most important to corporate counsel—client focus, commitment to help, understanding the client's business and providing value for the dollar—Morgan Lewis got a "best of the best" distinction in all but the "provides value for the dollar" category, where it was a leader among the best in that category.

The four categories most important to corporate counsel are also those most closely linked to financial success, BTI said. According to the report, law firms that rank high in those four categories earn 30 percent higher profits than other firms, 7 percent rate premiums across all staff levels, double the fees from a single client and 35 percent higher client retention.

According to the corporate counsel BTI spoke to, "Morgan Lewis earns accolades as a 'bet-the-company' and 'go-to' firm because of their 'outstanding expertise' combined with 'great service' and their 'partnership' with clients. Their dedication to 'quality' positions them as a 'reliable' resource for clients."

Reed Smith moved up 10 spots from last year to 11th place on BTI's ranking. This is the 10th consecutive year the firm has made an appearance in the top 30. It was ranked as best of the best when it comes to handling problems and was listed as a leader among the best in 10 other categories, including commitment to help, understanding a client's business and keeping clients informed.

BTI said clients praised their "good relationship" with Reed Smith. The consulting group said clients loved Reed Smith's "willingness to work with us" and its "ability to partner so well." Clients further noted Reed Smith "look[s] out for the client." "'They would do anything for us,'" one client said, according to the survey.

K&L Gates rose one spot to 22nd on the list, marking the firm's fourth appearance in the top 30. The firm is recognized as a leader of the best in six categories: breadth of services, brings together national resources, handles problems, keeps clients informed, understands the client's business and quality products.

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