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Distribution of spending on outside counsel by 10 areas of law

At the 5th Annual IP Counsel Forum, the COO of LexisNexis Examen presented data from a Martindale-Hubbell study on how corporate counsel distribute legal work to law firms. The pie chart had ten slices, each with a percentage. For example, Litigation at 37 percent presumably means that this research found that 37 percent of the fees paid to outside counsel were for litigation services.

Here are the remaining nine areas and their percentages: IP and Labor & Employment (11% each), M&A (9%), Securities (7%), Real Estate (6%), Tax and Environment (4% each), Bankruptcy (3%) and Other (8%).

Wouldn’t it make sense that the distribution of lawyers in large US law firms – the firms that provide most of the services to law depatments – should correspond to those percentages? By a further extension, the distribution of specialist lawyers inside companies should match to some degree those percentages, other than litigators – the most common area of law for outside counsel services.

My final observation is a question: in the data, are lawsuits arising under a speciality included in the specialty, e.g., does spending on patent litigation fall under “IP” or under “Litigation”? Most observers estimate spend on litigation at two-thirds of total external spend.