International legal spend by law departments may vary according to whether the company is US-based or not

A phrase about international legal spending set me thinking. It comes from Managing Ptr., July-Aug. 2010 at 25, and covers highlights of Acritas’ sharplegal report. Based on data provided from buyers of legal services totaling more than US$3 billion in global legal spend in 2010, the article includes this sentence, and note the finally phrase. “Average legal spend per organisation interviewed is currently a healthy US$8.4 million, and typically 40% of total spend is international.”

US-based legal departments probably do not spend anywhere near 40% of their total budget on international legal costs, not even external spend. But the Acritas report, drawing significantly on non-US companies, may be more representative of legal departments in countries whose domestic market is not nearly as large as the US market. Accordingly, a much higher proportion of their sales and legal work arises outside of their country and falls into the bucket of “international spend.” Put differently, a Swedish company that competes globally, for example, probably spends a much higher proportion of its legal budget outside of Sweden than a comparable company based in the United States.

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