Data that may not say much at all about convergence

An article on Requests for Proposals, from InsideCounsel, June 2008 at 64, includes a graphic based on the ACC/Serengeti Managing Outside Counsel Survey. The graphic shows “the number of legal departments practicing convergence” as reported in surveys each year from 2000 to 2006. The percentage hovers between 27 and 31 percent, with no discernible trend.

If we take that data as representative of US law departments, is it noteworthy that each year about a third of the respondents say that they want to reduce the number of law firms they use? Isn’t it likely that at any one point in time about one-third are content with the size of their outside counsel roster and one-third anticipate that they might increase the number of firms they use?

In other words, for such big topics as investments in technology, emphasis on professional development, or improvement in knowledge management, isn’t it plausible that on a snapshot roughly a third of all general counsel want to do more, a third less, and a third stand pat?

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