Proportion of quotes by role of person quoted

Four law-firm research surveys afford us a glimpse into quantifying the distribution of quotes included in them and the person whom they quote. The four surveys are Allen Overy Models 2014, Berwin Leighton ArbRisk 2014, DLA Piper Compliance 2017, and Fulbright Jaworski Lit 2009. For each of these reports we counted how many quotes appear to be from clients of the law firm, how many quotes are from a firm partner, and how many quotes came from someone else (a third-party).

The height of each column corresponds to the total number of quotes in the report. The two reports on the ends had eight quotes each whereas the middle two reports have five and six quotes.

For this set of reports, the wit and wisdom of law firm partners accounts for almost half of all the quotations. The orange portions of the columns show the distribution of partner quotes by firm. What clients have to say accounts for exactly the same percentage, almost half of the total quotes. The dark segments indicate client quotes. The third-party quote, as there was only one, is least common (the bottom segment of the Berwin Leighton column).

Quotes from partners are much easier to include in a report, since no permission from the partners is needed, partners welcome publicity regarding their area of expertise, and partners can craft their quotes. If a law firm quotes a client, however, it would need to run the quote by the client and secure both approval and permission to use it. Those hoops to jump through can deter firms, but for the credibility boost of proclaiming the implicit commendation of a real person in a real company.


I did not try to analyze the content of quotes, but it would seem that clients would best be quoted for the realities of their circumstances, while partners should be quoted to elucidate legal risks, consequences, and how to address them. As has been mentioned, some of the quotes have the feeling of having been carefully crafted to make a point as compared to being a verbatim transcription of what someone actually said. But, cynics win few friends.

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