On Friday, we gave you a sneak peek at the new rankings being developed by the Association for Corporate Counsel. The organization is asking its members to submit reviews about the law firms they work with based on a five star system.
We told you that the ACC rankings were still a work in progress, with many firms not having enough reviews to make their rating significant.
Still, the ACC would have preferred to keep its list a secret from the general public. The ABA Journal reports:
The ABA Journal asked the Association of Corporate Counsel for comment. Media representatives pointed to an online statement and a blog post by ACC President Fred Krebs. “It is premature and inappropriate at this time to cite ‘rankings’ of law firms given the limited number of evaluations submitted thus far,” Krebs says. “The ACC Value Index is in the early data-gathering stage, and it will take time to develop a robust database.”
It seems that the ACC’s real problem is that it doesn’t want its rankings to be termed “rankings.”
Check out an email from the ACC to its members. After our post about the list went live, the ACC sent out this email to its members:
Dear ACC Member:
We want to thank you for your contributions to the ACC Value Index (AVI). As you know, the AVI is intended to be a member service that enables in-house counsel to communicate with each other about the selection and retention of law firms.
However, it has come to our attention that an individual has shared some of the early information with the media without our authorization. As a result, you may have seen the recent publicity about the purported “ACC Law Firm Rankings” at http://tinyurl.com/ylkrcut.
The attention from the media and law firms at this early stage of development reflects the potential value of the AVI to our members. This publication of “rankings” requires clarification:
* The ACC Value Index is in the early data-gathering stage and it will take time to develop into a robust database.
* The AVI is not intended to be a ranking of law firms, but rather is simply a collection of ACC member opinions.
* Further, it is inappropriate to cite “rankings” of law firms given the limited number of evaluations submitted thus far.
IMPACT ON YOU
Members who have submitted evaluations and identified themselves may have done so with the expectation that they would not be identified beyond the ACC membership. Accordingly, we have made ALL of the evaluations anonymous for the time being. Members may still “ping” an evaluator for additional feedback so the option of sharing information among members will continue to be available.
ACC will share with each law firm information from the AVI about that firm as soon as we finalize the appropriate formats and procedures. As we move ahead with the ACC Value Challenge and AVI, we believe this will be a constructive way to drive change within the in-house/outside counsel relationship. We want to assure you that no matter how we share the client satisfaction results with a law firm, we will not identify the ACC member who provided the evaluation without his or her express permission.
We encourage you to continue to submit evaluations about your firms and are encouraging other members to do the same. A robust database of member evaluations will be an exceptionally valuable and useful service for ACC members. Please help us make that happen.
Very truly yours,
Frederick J. Krebs
Association of Corporate Counsel
Many of the caveats Krebs mentions were included in our original post.
But why is the ACC being so secretive? And why don’t they want to call it a “ranking”? It’s a five star system; obviously the organization expects that some firms will be rated more highly than others.
Whatever you want to call it, we hope more corporate counsel fill out the survey and rank the firms they work with. And we hope that the final scores are made public — not just issued to law firm managers, but shared with the general public. Everybody wants to see which firms corporate counsel want to work with.
Secret ACC Ratings Appear on Blog; Group Says Release Is ‘Premature’ [ABA Journal]
Earlier: The Association of Corporate Counsel Rankings
Law Firm Rankings By Clients, But We Can’t See Them