Someday, a formula regarding international revenue and in-house lawyers overseas

Don Liu, general counsel of Xerox, states in a recent book that “Fifty-three percent of Xerox’s revenues and related legal work is not based solely on U.S. law.” I wonder if Liu is simply stating that a bit more than half of Xerox’s revenue comes from outside the United States, and that the legal work to generate that revenue must necessarily involve some non-U.S. law. Surely he does not measure hours worked on matters designated as non-U.S.. The quote comes from David Galbenski, Unbound: How Entrepreneurship is Dramatically Transforming Legal Services Today (2009) at 34.

At General Electric, more than half of the company’s revenue came from outside the United States [HBR, Oct. 2009 at 58]. I doubt that more than half of GE’s lawyers are based outside the United States. At 3M, two-thirds of its revenue comes from outside the U.S., and half its lawyers are stationed overseas (See my post of May 15, 2009 #4: metrics on 3M.).

For U.S. legal departments, the percentage of lawyers based outside the country will likely always lag the percentage of revenue generated outside the US. What the formula eventually settles on for the typical department awaits benchmarks yet to be gathered and published.

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