From a recent directory, the NJ Legal Almanac, Aug. 2006, I looked at size and location statistics for the 17 largest law firms based in New Jersey and the law departments of the 19 largest companies headquartered in New Jersey.
The median percentage of lawyers at the firms who are physically based in New Jersey is 98 percent, whereas the law department median is 69 percent; the respective averages are 92 and 71 percent (Honeywell at only 24 percent in-state brings down the corporate average, as did Wyeth (41%) and Chubb (53%).
As to sheer number of lawyers, the firms averaged 92 lawyers, while the 17 largest departments averaged 50 lawyers, a bit more than half the size (See my post of Aug. 14, 2006 about large departments lagging large firms in size.).
If New Jersey is representative, a provable but conjectural if, in-state law firms may commonly be approximately 50 percent more geographically concentrated than the largest in-state companies’ law departments, and have something like twice as many lawyers. If so, law departments that want to retain nearby counsel have ample choices.