In a profile of Paul T. Dacier, senior vice president and general counsel of $10 billion EMC Corp, Nat. L.J. Vol. 28, March 13, 2006, Dacier mentiones that his law department has an “operating budget” of $25 million for its 70 lawyers and 40 other staff. As a benchmark junkie, I reflexively calculated that EMC’s inside spending per lawyer – assuming that is what the operating budget covers – comes to $357,000 per lawyer, which is a modest-to-low figure. And, compulsive that I am, it has 7 lawyers per billion dollars of revenue, which is a bit on the high side, except that EMC is most definitely a high-technology company. To complete my obsessive trifecta, the ratio of almost two lawyers per support staff is very high, in light of the median of one to one found generally.
But quantophrenia must be resisted (See my post of Feb. 8, 2005.). The comment that inspired this post came right after his $25 million budget statement. Dacier proudly pointed out that “we bring in more than we spend on the legal side.” Wouldn’t that warm the cash registers of a CFO’s heart! Truly a law department as a profit center (See my post of Feb. 8, 2006 on DuPont’s efforts, Feb. 16, 2006 on IP recoveries, and March 15, 2006 on litigation recoveries.).