At a company I know, roughly sixty percent of the lawyers in the large department manage outside counsel. When I found that out I felt surprised, and realized two things. First, there are no benchmark figures for the median percentage of firm-supervising lawyers. My guess would be that less than half of a department’s lawyers is closer to the norm. Probably we have another manifestation of Pareto’s Rule: 20 percent of the lawyers manage 80 percent of the outside counsel spend (See my post of May 21, 2008: 9 references to Pareto’s Rule.).
Second, I realized I believe that supervision of outside counsel ought properly fall to the most senior, experienced lawyers. If lots of your lawyers have that role and you have a large department, you are likely to have insufficiently experienced lawyers trying to guide veteran law-firm partners.