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Another data point on how many law departments there are globally – many more than 70,000

An article’s author writes that “Whereas there were about 3,000 multinational corporations in 1914, the figure rose to 63,000 in the year 2000.” If that latter figure is correct, and the J-shaped growth curve has continued for whatever they mean by “multinational corporations,” one could imagine 70,000 now, a decade later. The quote comes from Historically Speaking, June 2011 at 32, refers to Globalinc: An Atlas of the Multinational Corporation, published in 2003.

If a company has prospered to the point where it operates, or at least sells, in multiple countries, it probably has at least one in-house lawyer (See my post of Oct. 14, 2010: cites to 70,000 “transnational” companies but no source.). That 70,000 figure would not include “national” companies that have an internal legal function.

From various sources I have estimated, very roughly, 30,000 legal departments in the United States and Canada, 10,000 or more in Europe; and I would not be surprised to find 10-20,000 in Asia; 5,000 in Latin and Central America; and thousands more for the rest of the world (EMEA) (See my post of Dec. 31, 2010: estimates of total number of worldwide law departments with 9 references from 2010.). The total worldwide could easily exceed 100,000 law departments.