Survey data about numbers of law firms retained and firms per lawyer

Of the departments participating in ALM’s metrics survey last year, 68 provided data on how many law firms they had retained in 2010 and how many they had retained in 2009. Among that group, contrary to all the talk about dramatic reductions in the number of law firms retained, their aggregate number reported declined from 4,333 firms in total to 4,027 – a decrease of less than 10 percent. Looking deeper, 30 departments decreased their outside counsel rolls, 18 reported the same number of firms, and 17 increased. Obviously, even with the group that stayed the same, there could have been different firms retained but the same total number.

Another perspective is to calculate the law firms retained per billion dollars of revenue. For this group of law departments in the United States, the median was 12 law firms retained for each billion dollars of revenue. The overall data reflects 3.5 law firms retained for every in-house lawyer. To learn more about the Law Department Metrics Benchmark Survey of ALM Legal Intelligence, click here for ALM’s website.

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