As part of my first-cut analyses of matter management system data from the General Counsel Metrics benchmark survey, I looked at the size of law departments. As measured by number of lawyers, the departments that use one of the eight most commonly identified systems, have a median of 27 lawyers; the rest of the group, including those that listed no matter management system, have a median of between four and five lawyers. They are much smaller.
No real surprise here; one would expect that larger groups of lawyers need more management tools, one of which is software for tracking matters and their expenses. As more data comes in from the GCM survey, it will be clearer where the so-called tipping point is: at what number of lawyers do more departments have matter management software than don’t. Of course, packages have different price points and capabilities, so even one-lawyer departments can find an appropriate match.
The other point to make here is that if size of department correlates with use of the major software offerings, then total legal spending as a percentage of revenue will look better for that group of software vendor’s clients. As revenue grows, the ratio of legal costs declines. The decline may have a bit to do with the legal software, but far more to do with other factors.