Special offer for Fortune 500-size law departments: an analysis of 95 in the General Counsel Metrics benchmark survey: some findings

If you are from a Fortune 500-size company (more than $4 billion in revenue) and you complete the current survey through the notice top right on this blog or use this URL, I will send you the full analysis of the 95 law departments from Fortune 500 companies last year. That group of elite companies is fully as large as some entire benchmark surveys and much larger than even the biggest survey can muster in that huge-revenue bracket.

The demographics of the 95 Fortune 500’s are striking. The group averaged 80 lawyers (median 50) and total legal spend of $103 million, with a median of $51 million. As to their revenue, at a total of $2 trillion they averaged $21 billion and a median of $12 billion.

Meanwhile, for all readers here are some findings from my analysis of this group against all 813 participants last year. As compared to the total legal spending as a percentage of revenue of all the participants in the fifth release of the GCM report, the Fortune 500 set was 10 percent higher. This is surprising to me since economies of scale are well known.

On the other hand, the Fortune 500 group of 95 had at the median almost two lawyers per billion fewer than the total population in the GCM survey. Stated differently, they were one-third leaner on normalized lawyer staffing.

Outside counsel spend per lawyer soared above the rest of the group, more than twice as much. However, when you consider that the Fortune 500s had significantly fewer lawyers per billion, the higher outside counsel spend per lawyer is partially accounted for by fewer lawyers.

In terms of internal spend per lawyer, at around $420,000 they were more than 50 percent higher than the entire group’s metric. Bear in mind that for all three metrics cited above, the medians for the entire group were influenced by the metrics from the Fortune 500s. Had their data been removed, the differences would widen.

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