Six outside law firms per inside lawyer – a data point from Cox Communications

An article about the law department at Cox Communications offers several benchmark tidbits. With 23,000 employees and 17 lawyers, it has one lawyer for every 1,353 employees (See my post of April 18, 2009: lawyers per 1,000 employees with 6 references.).

At $8.5 billion in revenue, it boasts only two lawyers per billion, which is quite low. Could its outlay on outside counsel be higher than peer law departments? But another number in ACC Docket, March 2010 at 90, particularly caught my eye.

The article says that the legal department works with more than 100 outside law firms. If all the in-house lawyers have some oversight responsibility for at least one of those firms, the average is close to six firms per lawyer. That comports with one other post that offered the metric of three primary firms per lawyer (See my post of Feb. 11, 2007: rule of thumb of three primary firms per in-house lawyer.).

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