Growth rate of Google’s law department and a searching analysis of ROI

One speaker at a panel discussion at the ACC 2005 Annual Meeting was Miriam Rivera, Deputy General Counsel of Google. A chart she displayed showed that Google’s Law Department had 2 “legal employees” in 2001, 11 in 2002, 30 in 2003, 55 in 2004, and 79 in 2Q2005. At that rate of growth, and assuming half the employees are lawyers, Google will have about 2500 lawyers in 2009!. (See my post of Sept. 22, 2005 about growth at Walmart’s lawyers.)

The slide says that the department “prioritize[s] workflow, resources, and projects based on ROI.” Some components of that calculation appear to be “deal value” and “negotiation complexity” and “processing time” – all tracked and reported by the department. Metrics matter to Google’s lawyers: “Online agreements net 10x legal productivity improvements.”

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