Most industries have markers of success, such as movies released by studios, Nielsen ratings for broadcast companies, square feet of warehouses for distribution companies, or ton-miles for truckers. The benchmarks by which general counsel in those industries might compare themselves ought to incorporate such industry-specific benchmarks.
Far from knowing what they are, I can imagine some: billions of barrels of reserve for oil companies, customers served for retailers, room-nights for hotels, or square feet leased for real estate brokerages.
When you show lawyers per billion passenger miles among airline law departments or total legal spending as a percentage of premium income for insurance companies or total legal staff per car produced, you express the performance of the law department in terms of metrics that are meaningful to executives in those industries (See my post of March 11, 2009: differences within industries on benchmarks.).
Take part in the largest benchmarking database ever assembled for legal departments! Click here for the six-minute, confidential online survey based on your fundamental 2009 metrics.