Reliability of basic benchmark data varies – from pretty solid to loosely squishy

Most legal departments are able to generate basic data on their staff and spend with reasonable accuracy. The solid standbys include number of lawyers, although there some thought needs to be given to full-time equivalents and contract lawyers (See my post of Dec. 15, 2009: full-time-equivalent lawyers and others with 6 references; and July 17, 2008: contract lawyers with 12 references.).

More difficult is how to handle practicing lawyers in decentralized departments that don’t report to the chief legal officer.

Paralegals present some definitional issues and often don’t exist as a recognized role in some countries (See my post of July 9, 2007: paralegals with 11 references; and June 22, 2008: paralegals with 18 references.).

Other support staff on the payroll of the department are generally known well, with some exceptions for temps and shared personnel (See my post of dedicated by corporate function versus report to the legal department.). (See my post of Oct. 27, 2009: one-to-one ratio of lawyers to support staff with 9 references; and Sept. 9, 2008: temporary staff with 8 references.).

Regarding the inside budget, loose edges abound (See my post of Aug. 21, 2008: total legal spend as percent of revenue with 9 references and one metapost.).

Outside spend – forget about it! This benchmark figure suffers from a hospital full of illnesses!

It helps to think of these basic staffing and spending figures on spectra of certainty, ease of tracking and obtaining, and usefulness.

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https://www.novisystems.com/NoviSurvey/n/benchmark.aspx

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Reliability of basic benchmark data varies – from pretty solid to loosely squishy

Most legal departments are able to generate basic data on their staff and spend with reasonable accuracy. The solid standbys include number of lawyers, although there some thought needs to be given to full-time equivalents and contract lawyers (See my post of Dec. 15, 2009: full-time-equivalent lawyers and others with 6 references; and July 17, 2008: contract lawyers with 12 references.).

More difficult is how to handle practicing lawyers in decentralized departments that don’t report to the chief legal officer.

Paralegals present some definitional issues and often don’t exist as a recognized role in some countries (See my post of July 9, 2007: paralegals with 11 references; and June 22, 2008: paralegals with 18 references.).

Other support staff on the payroll of the department are generally known well, with some exceptions for temps and shared personnel (See my post of dedicated by corporate function versus report to the legal department.). (See my post of Oct. 27, 2009: one-to-one ratio of lawyers to support staff with 9 references; and Sept. 9, 2008: temporary staff with 8 references.).

Regarding the inside budget, loose edges abound (See my post of Aug. 21, 2008: total legal spend as percent of revenue with 9 references and one metapost.).

Outside spend – forget about it! This benchmark figure suffers from a hospital full of illnesses!

It helps to think of these basic staffing and spending figures on spectra of certainty, ease of tracking and obtaining, and usefulness.

*******************************************
Help add crunchiness to benchmark data! Take part in the largest benchmarking database ever assembled for legal departments! More than 100 departments are already onboard. Click here for the six-minute, confidential online survey based on your fundamental 2009 metrics.
https://www.novisystems.com/NoviSurvey/n/benchmark.aspx

*******************************************

We welcome comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *