A Taiwanese legal department with two other unusual features

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) is the world’s largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, with $10 billion in revenue in 2008. An American lawyer, Dr. Richard Thurston, heads its nearly 70 full-and part-time legal department employees, according to Legal Strat. Rev., Summer 2010 at 14. Of that group, 10 are US-based, two in China and one in Europe.

Aside from being only the second Taiwanese legal department to appear on this blog (See my post of Feb. 1, 2007: Hon Hai Precision Industry outsourced the law department of its Czech subsidiary), I mentionTMSC because its legal staff per billion – approximately seven – is quite lean, especially for a high-tech company that has a massive IP portfolio to protect and manage. Second, one out of five of its members work outside the headquarters country, which may be in line with a benchmark metric that has yet to be established. Third, with an American general counsel (a PhD no less), the company has an unusual chief legal counsel by both training and nationality.

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