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Up all hours: M&A partners score top for availability to clients

There are wide variations within law firms on client satisfaction scores

Becky Pritchard

Monday June 14, 2021

Clients are generally very happy with the availability and engagement of partners at UK law firms, raving about how partners are available at all times of the day and night.

But there are wide variations of scores within law firms. The data shows that partners in some practice are more available to their clients than those in other ares.

According to data from Legalease Research Services, which contacts 150,000 clients in the UK annually to provide assessments of law firm service, M&A, employment and banking and finance are some of the top performing practice areas for partner availability. As the chart below shows, tax, construction and dispute resolution score lower by clients for partner availability and engagement.

Different types of work require different levels of engagement. An M&A deal is usually time sensitive and requires the delicate choreographing of bankers, accountants and the client to get a deal over the line. So it’s understandable the M&A partners are generally more available than partners in the less time pressured world of wills, tax and trusts.

While clients may like to have partners on the end of the phone day or night, it is not necessarily a good thing for the wellbeing of lawyers or the diversity of the profession.

The top ranks of law firms have long been dominated by men, despite the large number of women now entering the profession at the junior level. Interestingly, the practice areas that score the highest for partner availability are also the ones that have traditionally been the most male dominated (bar employment). Anecdotally, the lack of women in finance and M&A departments is often explained as due to the incompatibility of marrying family life with the need to be available to work all hours of the day. The data seems to bear this out. It again shows that while law firms may want happy clients, there are costs to having your partners able to work 24 hours a day.

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 For scores of individual law firms (drilled-down into multiple work areas, and multiple jurisdictions), contact