Exponential increases that managers of law departments encounter

A previous post collected my references here to linear increases, where one number rises in step with another number. As you add lawyers, your compensation paid rises linearly (See my post of July 25, 2010: 11 references to linear changes.).

Other phenomenon, however, increase exponentially: as one number increases, another increases or decreases by leaps and bounds (more technically, by a square or a cube). The cost and complexity of some class actions rise exponentially with the number of class members and plaintiff’s counsel. Double their number and fees might quadruple. Once product liability claims tip past various thresholds, the cost and complexity may rise exponentially or layoffs of larger numbers of employees may trigger a similar jump. Triple their number and suffer a nine-fold additional burden. Management challenges probably rise exponentially with the number of countries or continents in which lawyers are based.

Many other instances relevant to law department managers exhibit exponential rates of change (See my post of March 10, 2005: patent litigation costs may rise linearly, but not exponentially; Feb. 4, 2006: exponential drop off in interaction when lawyers are on different floors; Aug. 28, 2006: committee size and complexity; Jan. 3, 2007: linear compared to exponential; June 18, 2007: decision trees; Dec. 26, 2007: people demands as departments grow; May 29, 2009: performance problems as team size increases; June 15, 2009: time between arrival of a request and completion of the service; Sept. 27, 2009: my article on power-law distributions; and Feb. 22, 2010: managerial scope, and therefore outcomes, expand exponentially with increased law department size.).

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