Some benchmark metrics from French legal departments

A study last year of French legal departments, co-conducted by Profit & Law and Equiteam, obtained responses last year from 100 French general counsel. Some of the data reported resembles counterpart metrics in the United States. The cited data in this post comes from page 14 of the report.

The median total legal spending as a percentage of corporate revenue was 0.19 percent, with the average being 0.32 percent. These figures, from 58 departments, are lower than US figures, which would be closer to 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, if there were comparable sets of law departments.

The ratio of internal spend to total legal spend was 54 percent at both the median and average, which is somewhat higher than in the US. The difference in this benchmark metric as well as in total legal spending comes mostly from higher external counsel spending in the US. That bulge, relative to French legal departments, both drops the internal ratio and increases the total ratio.

French lawyers per billion dollars of revenue came in at a median of around 6.5 (€111 million per lawyer at an exchange rate of approximately 1.4 Euros to the dollar). Again, that figure stands a bit higher than in the United States, which accounts for some of the lower total legal spending – less use of outside lawyers – and higher proportion of total legal spending devoted to internal costs – more lawyers and presumably support staff.

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