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Another way to understand and clearly describe benchmark data – a stem and leaf display

One way to help us understand a data set is a stem-and-leaf display. Click on the example below. It illustrates the 32 smallest law departments that took part in the General Counsel Metrics benchmark since the first release on June 1st.

Each number in the left column – the stem – is the first digit of the number of lawyers in a law department. The top row shows that single digit law departments – those with the first digit being zero – accounted for 19 of that group.

To the right of the vertical line are the “leaves.” Four departments had one lawyer, three had two lawyers, two had three lawyers and so on to one with nine lawyers. Moving down a row, where departments had at least 10 lawyers, indicated by the stem of 1, one department had 10 (the 0), one had 12 (the 2) and so on. One more example. Among departments with 40 or more lawyers, there were only two: one survey participant had 42 lawyers and one had 46. I used a free software from Shodor to create this display. Once you learn to decipher it, a stem and leaf conveys detailed data conveniently.

Stem the shortage of benchmark insights! Don’t leaf until tomorrow your receipt of the July release of with more than 525 law department participants! Here is the link to enter six pieces of 2009 staffing and spending data.

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