A quartet of legal departments made the finalist list in Corporate Counsel “best law department” contest (See Corp. Counsel, June 2010 at 68.). Unable to help myself, I cobbled together their benchmarks. This little sample harbors four observations.
First, lawyers per billion of this group, at 5.24, is no slimmer than overall metrics from 500+ legal departments in the largest survey ever – three times larger than Hildebrandt’s – at 4.20. They may be deemed “the best” by Corporate Counsel but they still put their metrical pants on one leg at a time.
Second, with 26.1 lawyers per billion of revenue – compared to a norm of about five – it is an understatement to say that Discover Financial Services exemplifies a statistical outlier.
Third, H-P has only 190 of its 425-lawyer team at headquarters. As global as that huge company is, the footprint of lawyers can be found where the footprint of business is (See my post of Dec. 13, 2009: legal co-locates with business.).
Fourth, also along geographic lines, Microsoft scatters its lawyers in 44 countries (See my post of Sept. 16, 2008: foreign locations of in-house counsel with 11 references.).