The Economist, Oct. 13, 2012 at 90, explains how the greater concentration of America’s largest metropolitan areas compared to those in the euro area confers big advantages. Essentially, ideas appear and spread more quickly in larger urban areas, which economists referred to as “knowledge spillover.” Even though we have more methods of communication nowadays, the advantages of proximity to spillover seem to be increasing. With growing complexity and size we need even more people and information swirling around us to make sense of it. More densely populated cities attract people who want to share knowledge. This inter-relations between metropolitan size, skills, and productivity are complicated but they all feed on each other.
If we were to use this as a metaphor and apply it to the largest clump of lawyers in a law department – probably at home office or headquarters — we might find that this spillover effect benefits law departments also. Those with a preponderance of their lawyers in large cities or large clumps have more access to legal talent and legal service providers, and can draw on a larger talent pool for themselves, than law departments that are small, in off-the-beaten-track places or smaller cities.
Stated differently, on this reasoning, benchmark metrics of law departments that have a higher proportion of their lawyers based in larger cities should be better than those or rural or smaller-city departments.