“Night or day, evenings or weekends, they are always available”
Unfortunately for lawyers, clients gush about the long hours that partners work
Monday June 21, 2021
Law is not known for its family friendly hours. When a billing target of 2000 hours a year is common, it’s no wonder that partners often work long and unsociable hours.
This may be bad for lawyers mental health and family life, but clients absolutely love it.
According to data from Legalease Research Services, which contacts 150,000 clients in the UK annually to provide assessments of law firm service, the availability and engagement of partners at law firms with UK offices is one of the areas that clients are happiest with.
As you can see from the chart below, law firms score higher on partner availability and engagement than any other of our 12 client satisfaction metrics. More so than the quality of partners, their industry knowledge or value for money.
Hard charging US law firms scored particularly well on this metric, with Kirkland & Ellis, Cravath Swaine & Moore and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett all scoring well above the (already high) UK benchmark. You can read more about what types of firms score highly on this score here.
Partner availability and engagement is not necessarily just about the hours that a partner puts in. Engagement can mean many things, such as how a partner manages a case or their general level of interest in a matter. But when we delve into the comments that respondents provided, we can see that clients are most impressed with how quickly partners respond to requests and their availability at all hours.
“Night or day, evenings or weekends, they are always available” said one.
Another raved: “Always available and go well beyond working hours to ensure prompt response.”
“Fantastic availability. Even in the holiday period they have a seamless approach, which means there are no issues” said a third client.
Interestingly, the pandemic and shift to remote working has not dented those scores. Clients scored partner availability and engagement at UK law firms 0.15% higher in 2020 than the previous year. A small rise, but statistically significant given the number of clients surveyed.
The wellbeing of law firm staff has quite rightly been rising up the agenda for many years. While every law firm will want happy clients, the excellent scores and effusive responses do have a cost on staff. The scores show that some firms could frankly work their partners slightly less hard and still have very satisfied customers.
Data: Legalease Research Services surveys 300,000 commercial law firm clients each year. All scores are statistically validated (Bands of Uncertainty are marked within square brackets). Scores are Relative (not Absolute) and are Benchmarked against the average score of all clients for all client service criteria. For definitions and methodology see www.legaleasedata.com/faqs/. For scores of individual law firms (drilled-down into multiple work areas, and multiple jurisdictions), contact firstname.lastname@example.org