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A bizarre number of domestic law firms and an odd ratio to foreign law firms

Global Counsel, Sept. 2003 at 18 reports results from PLC’s Global Counsel 3000 Law Firm Partnering Survey of an unspecified number of European and US law departments,. The median respondent department, however, reported 10 lawyers.

How can it be, then, that “the median number of firms used in the home jurisdiction was four” while outside of the home jurisdiction the median number of firms used was ten? A ten-lawyer department in the US would probably retain at a minimum 30 law firms in the US. Since 18 percent of the respondents were US law departments, it defies sense that the median dropped to four.

The ratio between domestic and foreign firms – 4 to 10 – likewise furrows my brow. In the respondent group, 56 percent of the departments were UK, US or German, where large domestic markets make it most likely that domestic law firms would dominate the panels. For US departments, if you exclude foreign patent and trademark agent firms, the ratio probably tilts more to domestic firms than foreign firms.

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