BigLaw firms deliver better client service in Australasia than USA

In the US, the Am Law 20 (20 largest firms by revenue) are being outperformed by Am Law 21-200 firms on several key service metrics, including responsiveness, efficiency, quality of work, and solutions focus*.

We decided to look at our beatonbenchmarks data to see how Australian and New Zealand clients rate large law firms (over $200m) on client service, compared to medium size firms ($50-$200m) and small firms (under $50m) to see whether this is also the case here.

Anecdotally, one does hear that large firms differentiate based primarily on expertise while medium/ smaller firms differentiate on service and friendliness.

However, beaton’s data on client service ratings shows … this is not the case in Australia and New Zealand.

Source: beatonbenchmarks 2018

Our 2018 data on over 50 firms shows:

  • The best-performed firm was a large international firm

  • The median client service scores are on par for the large firm segment compared to medium and small segments

  • The top 10 best-performed firms comprise:

  • 4 large

  • 4 medium

  • 2 small

  • The bottom 10 comprise:

  • 4 large

  • 3 medium

  • 3 small

  • There is significant variability between firms in each size segment.

What does excellent service look like?

  1. Our first-hand observations indicate top-performing firms have a ‘client-centric’ strategy, which means they put the client at the centre of everything they do.

  2. The top-ranking driver of client satisfaction across the last three years was “Ease of doing business”.

Source: beatonbenchmarks

This chart shows how clients define ‘Ease of doing business’ based on analysis of verbatim comments, it covers key areas of service delivery:

  • Responsiveness

  • Communicate effectively

  • Reliability

  • Understanding the client’s business and industry

Are you easy?

When we work with firms on client service delivery, this is where we advise to start …

Look at each interface and interaction with your clients and ask this question “Are we easy?”

Have this conversation and imagine the client is in the room.

And better still…ask your clients about their pain points and how you can be easier to do business with.

*Data from a recent study by Advance Law.


Paul Hugh-Jones is a partner of beaton. You can also connect with Paul on LinkedIn and contact him at