As described previously, in my collection of hundreds of law-firm research surveys, 44 firms have released at least one set of survey results only as a press release, a post on a blog, or an article (a “non-report”). Also, 88 law firms have produced at least one survey report in PDF format (a “formal report”). Some — or perhaps all — of those law firms have produced the results of a research survey in both formats, formal report and non-report, but I would have to confirm with each firm about its history of reporting to be sure of both numbers.
Nevertheless, with the data at hand, 24 law firms are in both camps, having published at least one formal report and at least one non-report. Another 64 formal-report firms have not issued a single non-report, while 20 firms have not produced a single formal report.
The pie chart below visualizes these findings. The largest group, in the bottom slice, represents the 64 law firms that have produced only formal reports in PDF. At the upper left, the green (darkest) segment, extends out only about a third as far out as the largest segment, as it represents the 20 law firms that have not released a formal report of their survey findings (about one-third of 64). The third segment, in the upper right, represents the remaining 24 firms that have chosen both formats.
These preliminary findings of significant variability in reporting practices may reflect the decentralized style of large law firms. Individual practice groups or countries on their own can launch a research survey and then decide how to release the results they obtain. Then too, it may be that as a firm becomes more familiar with research surveys, it decides to shift how it brings the results to the attention of the world. Marketing functions may have more or less sway over budgets and standards for releasing data results. In the end, however, we must regard these findings as provisional, because further research may shift the composition of the three groups significantly.