Ratios of law department lawyers to private practitioners

Laurence Simon’s Guide To In-House Counsel Salaries (2006) states that “around 600 of the [Irish] Republic’s 6,500 solicitors currently work in-house.” Elsewhere I have noted the ratio of in-house counsel to outside lawyers in England (See my post of April 13, 2006 with its estimate of 14.5%; and Feb. 1, 2006 No. 3.). I have also seen estimates that approximately 100,000 lawyers in the US work in private corporations or the government, out of a total of around one million lawyers. Observers estimate that there may be 50,000 in-house counsel in China, but I do not know how many total lawyers (See my post of Oct. 19, 2005.)

Based only on the first three data points, a rough rule of thumb might be about one in-house lawyer for every 10 private practice lawyers. That’s not at all to say that in-house lawyers each sustain ten outside counsel; quite differently, the typical 40/60 inside to outside ratio of spending along with the higher hourly cost of outside counsel suggests more of a one-to-one ratio (See my posts of June 28, 2005 on the 40/60 ratio; March 19, 2006 and its application to Canadian data; and Aug. 14, 2006 on the one-to-one derivation.).

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