Wide differences between law departments in the percentage of contracts they review

A report by Exari, “Corporate Counsel Contracts Survey Report,”compiles data from more than 100 corporate respondents at the ACC Annual Meeting and LegalTech New York in February 2009. Three quarters of the respondents were from Fortune 1000 law departments.

One of the findings has to do with the proportion of contracts reviewed by the legal department. Here are the six categories and the percentage of the respondents who selected them: None (7%), Quarter (28%), Half (13%), Three Quarters (22%), Everything (26%) and Unknown (4%).

It astonishes me that about half the legal departments review half or fewer of all contracts. I have been under the impression that in most US companies, lawyers review most contracts. At the other extreme, it is a waste of legal talent (or paralegal talent) to review every contract – which is the policy in one out of four companies.

As for the most common types of contracts created, Sales contracts lead at 72 percent, then procurement (51%), HR (41%), Marketing (34%) and NDA’s (9%). The percentages given in a table are hard to reconcile with the pie chart that accompanies it, in which it looks like Sales and Procurement are each about 30 percent, and HR and Marketing are each about 15 percent.

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