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Compared to other staff functions, legal departments have been unscathed by deep headcount reductions

“A combination of increasing automation, new business models, and offshoring has pushed down the average size of finance staff by 30% over the past six years – to 92 people per $1 billion of revenue.” The quote comes from CFO, Nov. 2010 at 48, and Hacket Group data, courtesy of Michel Janssen, chief research officer for Hackett. From my General Counsel Metrics benchmark survey, the median size of legal staff for 800 law departments last year came 9 people per $1 billion of revenue, 10 percent of the finance figure.

Then comes the stunning data on headcount reductions: “In the last 10 years, the average large global company has dropped about 30% of its finance, IT, public-relations, and HR staff.” Janssen estimates that productivity improvements account for twice as much of that slide as offshoring. Fortunately, law departments haven’t suffered anything like that precipitous drop.