BTI Client Service A-Team 2021:
Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance

Client service soared. Not just went up but soared during the pandemic.

Clients changed their expectations each day as the pandemic crept in. They relied on a select group of mission-critical client service activities to select the law firms to help. And help they did.

More clients report receiving excellent client service than ever before. Bravo to the law firms who delivered.

There is one place to find out who did and who didn’t improve:

BTI Client Service A-Team 2021: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance.


No Ordinary Client Service

Clients virtually doubled the number of core activities they use to separate excellent client service from the good. Of the 17 activities, clients tell us are most influential — 7 deliver more client service horsepower than all the others:

  • Mobilizes Resources Quickly — new this year
  • Fielding the Absolute Best Team — new this year
  • Quickly Assessing the Situation — new this year
  • Commitment to Help
  • Delivering Value for the Dollar
  • Client Focus
  • Understanding Your Client’s Business

Long considered the gold standard in measuring client service performance, by clients and law firms alike the BTI Client Service A-Team 2021 is the only source for measuring client service solely from the client perspective.

Now in its 20th year — this is the most important edition ever with 240 new, in-depth interviews conducted during the pandemic.

It’s a crazy client service world out there — and there is only one road map:

BTI Client Service A-Team 2021: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance


Law firms improved substantially more than all the others


Firms make their first appearance on the BTI Client Service 30


Firms are no longer recognized by clients from just last year

The 30 Law Firms Performing 12 Times Better Than All Others

These elite firms outperform everyone else. Clients are clear and specific as to why and what they do.

Learn how they do it and why clients love it.


1         Jones Day
2         DLA Piper
3         Gibson Dunn
4         Arnold & Porter
5         Sidley
6         McGuireWoods
7         Littler
8         Kirkland & Ellis
9         Mayer Brown
10       Morgan Lewis
11       Faegre Drinker
12       King & Spalding
13       Latham & Watkins
14       Duane Morris
15       Jackson Lewis


16       Skadden
17       Davis Polk
18       Dentons
19       Ogletree Deakins
20       Baker Botts
21       Foley & Lardner
22       Sheppard Mullin
23       Shook, Hardy & Bacon
24       McDermott Will & Emery
25       Covington
26       Holland & Knight
27       Eversheds Sutherland
28       Greenberg Traurig
29       Pillsbury
30       Seyfarth Shaw


Baker Botts
Carlton Fields

DLA Piper
Faegre Drinker

Mayer Brown

Arent Fox
Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson
Duane Morris

Ellis & Winters
King & Spalding
Lewis Brisbois

Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila

Carpenter Lipps & Leland
Foley & Lardner
Foley Hoag
Gordon Arata Montgomery Barnett
Hinckley Allen

Holland & Knight
Jones Day
Kirkland & Ellis
Maynard Cooper & Gale

Norton Rose Fulbright
Patterson Belknap
Ropes & Gray
Sheppard Mullin
Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell

Barnes & Thornburg
Bird & Bird
Bond, Schoeneck & King
Boutin Jones
Bowman and Brooke
Butler Snow
Cox, Castle & Nicholson
Davis Polk
Day Pitney
Eversheds Sutherland

Gibson Dunn
Hall, Render, Killian,
Heath & Lyman

Ice Miller
Jackson Lewis
K&L Gates
Kean Miller
Kilpatrick Townsend
Lash & Goldberg
Latham & Watkins
McCarter & English
Parker Hudson
Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton

Payne & Fears
Porter Wright
Riley Warnock & Jacobson
Rosenberg & Estis
Swanson, Martin & Bell
Troutman Pepper
Tucker Ellis
White and Williams
Wilson Elser

70 Law Firms Who Improved Client Service More Than All Others

These firms stepped up in a big way and saw their performance soar.

These firms improved at more than twice the rate of all other law firms. They were able to step up and help clients in new and unexpected ways — and some old fashioned ways as well.


Learn Exactly Where Your Firm Stands and How it Changes — in Granular, Specific, and Actionable Measurements

The BTI Client Service A-Team details exactly where your law firms stand, you can see:

  • How clients define and measure client service
  • The 17 activities clients tell us define client service
    • The 3 brand new activities
    • The 3 they just don’t care about anymore
    • Gains and losses in the 17 activities driving client service
  • How you match up to 8 competitors of your choice
  • Exactly what clients want from law firms
  • Pinpoint where you improved — and didn’t
  • What the BTI Client Service 30 do to perform 12 times better than a typical law firm
  • Client service rankings for the Am Law 200

Includes a comparison in granular detail of up to 8 competitors of your choice — with a complimentary web briefing. Just tell us who you want as comparisons and we will send you your custom benchmarking analysis with a license to use throughout the firm.


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Your copy of the BTI Client Service A-Team 2021: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance also includes unlimited telephone support. Call BTI at 617.439.0333 to discuss any aspect of this report — all included in the price of the report.

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If the BTI Client Service A-Team 2021: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance doesn’t meet your highest expectations, we will give you a full refund. No questions asked.

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Join the more than 150 law firms relying on the BTI Client Service A-Team 2021 as their definitive guide to client service expectations.

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BTI Client Service A-Team 2021 draws on data collected in BTI’s ongoing Annual Survey of General Counsel. This study includes between 50% and 55% of companies participating in prior years. This approach provides for accurate analysis of longitudinal trends while simultaneously allowing for insights into new, changing, and coming shifts in the legal market.

This research is independent and unbiased — no law firm or organization other than BTI sponsors this study.

Each year, BTI reaches out to a strategically designed group of top legal decision makers at large organizations with $700 million or more in revenue. We target the decision makers in the industries who spend the most on legal affairs as well as thought leaders and innovative Chief Legal Officers. Our survey also includes Chief Legal Operating Officers and business executives who hire and influence the selection and hiring of law firms.

We grant interviewees confidentiality at the individual and organizational level.

Executive Summary

BTI Client Service A-Team 2021: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance is your guide to client service excellence.

Client needs in 2021 are wider, require more rapid response, and many are new. And clients want law firms who know how to help — and act instead of asking what to do. A savvy group of 282 law firms jumped all over these new mandates. Learn who they are and how they did it in the new BTI Client Service A-Team 2021.