Compensation data for Canadian in-house lawyers suggests mostly small departments

Canadian Lawyer gathered salary data from 117 Canadian in-house counsel. One sentence about the budgets for those participants set me to calculating. “In terms of average legal spends budgeted for 2011, 36 per cent said their corporate legal department would come in under $500,000, 26 per cent said $500,000 to $1 million, 15 per cent said $1 million to $2 million, 14 per cent said $2 million to $5 million, five per cent said $5 million to $10 million, and five per cent said over $10 million.” I assume these are Canadian dollars.

If “average legal spends budgeted” means total legal spend, then one out of three departments could have had only one lawyer. After all, if total spending tends toward 40 percent inside and 60 percent external counsel, that would leave no more than $200,000 for the inside staff, which barely covers one lawyer. On similar reasoning, the 26 percent of respondents in the next larger budget bracket ($500,000 to $1 million) would be unlikely to have more than two lawyers. My reasoning is that if we take the midpoint of $750,000 and allocate 40 percent of that to the internal budget, the resulting $300,000 would be skinny for two lawyers.

Who knows if these one-hundred plus respondents are representative of Canadian law departments, but it appears from this data and the calculations that almost two out of three are small law departments (See my post of Dec. 27, 2008: small departments with 7 references cited.).

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