Lower total legal spending as a percentage of revenue for French legal departments compared to U.S. departments

Profit & Law, Helene Trink’s consultancy in France, recently published its survey report of 119 heads of legal (directeurs juridiques) in France. Of that group, 62 provided enough data to permit Trink to calculate their total legal budget, covering both internal and external costs, as a percentage of their 2010 corporate revenue.

At the median, the figure was 0.17%, which is half or less of the comparable figure from U.S. participants in the General Counsel Metrics survey. At the first quartile, the figure was 0.07% whereas at the third quartile, 0.44%. We should note that Trink’s data is in Euros, but the normalization of the figures, legal spend divided by revenue, renders that irrelevant when the resulting metric is compared to US dollars or any other currency.

It is likely that relatively more litigation, intellectual property costs, and government investigations drive up the U.S. spend. Also, some of Trink’s respondents cover only France. The median for departments reporting worldwide figures (at page 14, for 31 companies) was 0.32%. That figure comes closer to the prevailing U.S. standard, probably because it includes spend in the costlier U.S.

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