Analysis: Which lawyers do you recommend, and why? A closer look at Thought Leader Data.


By: Dan Currell, Managing Director

Lawyers have been hired on the basis of recommendations since – well, probably since there were lawyers.

So, why do clients recommend some lawyers and not others?

I think the answer is below. It’s an analysis based on data from over 2,000 matters handled by AdvanceLaw companies. The top bar shows that clients tend to recommend lawyers who are strong on “Solutions Focus.”

Relative Strength of Correlation with Likelihood to Recommend

“Quality of Work” and “Legal Expertise” are really important too, and so is “Responsiveness.”

At the bottom we see that a “Low Hourly Rate” doesn’t matter quite so much. At first this is a little puzzling – don’t we like cheap things and tend to recommend them? Well – sometimes. I unreservedly commend the entire Trader Joe’s freezer aisle, for example.

But “Low Hourly Rate” and low cost aren’t the same, and we see that here. “Cost/Efficiency” does matter to clients, but as we all know it can be achieved by a fairly expensive lawyer who manages a budget well and works efficiently.

So to answer my opening question: why do clients recommend some lawyers and not others? Clients recommend lawyers who solve problems efficiently. And those lawyers tend to be the best lawyers when it comes to quality, too.

We see this every day at AdvanceLaw. The lawyers we send to our GCs who get the highest scores on expertise and quality are often the same ones who score the highest on efficiency. They cost less and do better work – but how? Toyota discovered the answer over 50 years ago: in a complicated process, the best stuff is often less expensive, because mistakes undermine both quality and cost. Put another way, the one who makes the fewest mistakes in a complicated process produces at the lowest cost – and produces the highest quality.

We think it’s the same with legal matters: the best lawyers have the experience to do things right the first time. That produces quality and efficiency. And that’s what clients want. Fifteen years ago, some of us studied what CEOs wanted from GCs and their teams. Same answer: they want in-house lawyers who efficiently solve problems.

So what does this have to do with AdvanceLaw? We feel fortunate to be finding lawyers who truly excel for our GCs on both solutions focus and efficiency – and we find them based on actual performance data, not just the historical pedigree of their firms.

In addition to using our data to find top lawyers, we layer on vetting to find firms with the right attitude, and use our GCs’ collective leverage to receive priority within the law firms. Combine that with market incentives (because firms and lawyers who outperform get more work), and you end up with this:

Client Scores
Matters through AdvanceLaw v. Other Matters

That’s a winning combination for clients and law firms.

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