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Benchmark surveys probably attract disproportionately more respondents from centralized law departments

Even with large numbers of participants, such as 1,000 in the General Counsel Metrics law department survey, benchmark metrics probably reflect more centralized law departments than decentralized. Not just more of them, because centralized reporting departments – where all practicing lawyers report ultimately to the general counsel – greatly outnumber decentralized ones – where some practicing lawyers report to a business unit manager.

More than even when you account for that imbalance, since it seems logical that decentralized departments don’t make up a similar percentage in survey results. To explain, assume 90 percent of all law departments are centralized. If 95 percent of all benchmark respondents are too, my surmise would be supported – relatively greater representation. The reason I would put forward is that general counsel who don’t know the full headcount of their company’s legal staff, or the spending on them, let alone the company’s outside counsel spend, more frequently pass than their centralized peers on invitations to take part in benchmark surveys. If they know their key figures are incomplete, why bother?

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