An interview of Thomas Russo, general counsel of AIG since early 2010, appears in Corp. Counsel, Dec. 2011 at 18. It says that Russo has fifteen direct reports, which crowns him champion of that list in my book. That is a very large number of people to evaluate, respond to, meet with, mediate among, and rely on (See my post of May 29, 2009: direct reports to the general counsel with 12 references.).
In law departments of up to six or so attorneys, the general counsel may directly supervise all of the attorneys. They all are “direct reports.” As departments add lawyers, however, some of the more junior lawyers report to one of the direct reports. How many direct reports a general has varies widely as that number depends on a range of factors, primarily the total number of lawyers in the department.
Since the first compilation, cited above, I have written about direct reports eight more times (See my post of Oct. 27, 2009: determinants of the number; Jan. 7, 2010: management initiatives per direct report; Feb. 9, 2010: Clorox, with 30 lawyers, has four direct reports; March 9, 2010: assumption of four or five if department is sizeable enough; March 29, 2010: succession planning; May 26, 2010: heterogeneity may degrade direct reports’ performance; May 10, 2011: delegation of authority to direct reports; and July 6, 2011: when to create a third reporting level.).