How Canadian in-house lawyers describe their work day

The 2011 In-House Counsel Barometer, produced by the Canadian law firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg In association with the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA), asked respondents to break their work day into three categories: legal work, management, and business strategy or advice. The results from 864 total respondents to the survey were that about half their time went to “legal work” (53%), while “management” and “business advice” split the remaining time (24% and 23% respectively).

The report page that describes these findings does not explain “management” but we do know that almost half the law departments have three or fewer lawyers, so there can’t be much supervisory time devoted to other lawyers (See my post of March 12, 2012: mostly small legal departments in Canada.). It could be that the oversight of outside counsel counts as “management.” More mischievously, one could wonder if it refers to “managing up.”

It sets me back that of these in-house lawyers perhaps only half their work time is devoted to actual legal analysis and service. If that is what they would pay outside counsel to do, in contrast to “management” and “business advice”, could it be that fully loaded costs per hour are twice as high.

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