Do law firm lawyers understand the needs of corporate legal departments?

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If you're a lawyer in a law firm, then it pays to know what the priorities of your in-house counterparts. Whether you're looking to move in-house, building a book of business, maintaining client relationships, or simply doing the work, it's critical you're on the same page. Unfortunately, the International Association of Defense Counsel's (IADC) recent 2015 IADC Inside/Outside Counsel Relationship Survey shows that -- too often -- law firm attorneys and in-house attorneys aren't on the same page.

The IADC is a preeminent, invitation-only, global association for attorneys representing corporate and insurance interests. For this survey, 386 in-house lawyers (mostly chief legal officers, general counsel, heads of litigation, and other senior-level corporate counsel) and 303 law firm partners were interviewed. The objective of the study was to determine how inside and outside counsel view their relationship with each other. The study showed disconnect in several key areas like legal service trends (rate pressures, consolidation of work across fewer firms, alternative fee arrangements, and cost reduction), as well as basics like communication on matters.

What does this mean for you? Your competition isn't paying enough attention to their clients' needs. That means there's a lot of room for lawyers looking for career development -- as well as business development -- opportunities to step up to the plate.