Research: Canapes and booze more important than service standards for choosing corporate law firms

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By Alex Aldridge on

Get the high-class nibbles and pricey champagne in


The quality of a corporate law firm’s canap├ęs and booze carries more weight than their standards of service when companies decide which one to instruct, new research has found.

The Looking Glass 2015 report on the future of the legal profession places “hospitality” at fourth in a list of “top factors that influence instructing new firms according to in-house lawyers” (pictured below). Down in sixth place is “high service standards”.


Interestingly, partners at these law firms failed to identify their capacity to put on a great spread when asked what factors they believed helped them win clients. Instead they highlighted areas like “technical expertise”, “quality of work” and “value for money”, none of which even get a mention from in-house lawyers.

The underlining of the importance of excellent catering comes at a time, says the report, that only 19% of the 122 general counsel surveyed believe that law firms can be clearly distinguished from each other.

Most of 160 corporate law firm partners surveyed — by market researcher Winmark in partnership with Thomson Reuters and Mayer Brown — also held this view, with a mere 24% of the opinion that they are “deeply differentiated” from their competitors.

Clearly, the anonymous law student who has been asking City firms via Twitter to “tell me what makes your firm unique in one tweet” has a point.