Rees Morrison’s Morsels #160: posts longa, morsels breva

More than 20% of Canadian lawyers are in-house. CCCA Magazine, in its Fall 2011 issue at 7, has a piece by the Chair of the trade group, Geoffrey Creighton. He writes that “more and more legal practitioners in Canada are working as in-house counsel” and a sentence later that “Some estimates place the figure as high as 25 percent of the profession.” That proportion would be higher than comparable estimates for the United States, although the number of in-house counsel in Federal, state and local government agencies is hard to come by. Creighton says that of the 400,000 member American Bar Association, those who are in-house number 17,000 (See my post of Sept. 25, 2005: ACCA estimate of 71,000 non-governmental U.S. in-house lawyers; Dec. 3, 2006: possible Fortune 500 staff figures; Dec. 11, 2006: ratios in the State of New Jersey; Dec. 31, 2008: oblique data suggests about 21% in-house; March 9, 2009: ABF data suggests 11% in-house in the US; April 2, 2009 #3: rapid growth of in-house bar since 1961; and June 15, 2009: almost one out of five lawyers in a large survey had gone in-house by their seventh year of practice.).

Another online RFP site. Announced during a law department conference in Asia was the “imminent launch” of LIVS (Legal Insight Visibility Services & Systems) a new, secure and stream-lined legal procurement system for RFP’s. This news comes from Asia-MENA Counsel, Vol. 9, Issue 7 at 16 (See my post of Sept. 4, 2005: online Dutch auction by GE with 142 law firms invited.).

More on estimates of the legal market, whatever that is. In a report dated June 2010, Jomati Consultants states that the “American legal market” stands as the largest in the world at around $255 billion (See my post of Oct. 28, 2011: the global or U.S. legal markets and three citations.).

Fiscal year ends and benchmark metrics. Law department managers that complete benchmark surveys know headcount numbers as of the end of a calendar year. That much is easy. But revenue for a company depends on fiscal year aggregations and may not be known for the 12 months ending December 31st (See my post of March 18, 2005: lag and lead spend by lawyers crosses fiscal years; and Feb. 20, 2008: general counsel don’t spread litigation costs over fiscal years.).


Presumption of 1,800 chargeable hours per inside lawyer
. Data in Corp. Counsel, Nov. 2011 at 30, indicate that for the AmLaw 200 during 2001-2007, chargeable hours per lawyer stayed around 1,750. Assuming marketing and down time accounts for more hours by external counsel, and that internal counsel do not face those drags (not entirely true I note), an estimated in-house equivalent of 1,800 or 1,850 seems quite plausible (See my post of May 21, 2009: internal chargeable hours with 12 references.).

Average does not mean typical. Many people think that the term “average” means “typical.” Not so. Average (or mean) is a calculated number and there may in fact be no member of the set that is itself average. 30+40+50+60+70 averages 42, which is not among the set (See my post of Dec. 22, 2010: descriptions of dispersion beyond averages, medians, and trimmed means.).

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