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Do law department benchmarking projects violate anti-trust laws?

Every few years, early in a benchmarking project, a general counsel asks whether sharing data on staffing, spending, cases pending and the like risks anti-trust scrutiny. One law department I know went so far as to obtain an opinion of outside counsel that the benchmark study would not jeopardize the company. Is the law department’s company at risk if it contributes its data to an industry benchmarking project?

Without expressing a legal opinion, and with no intention of rendering legal advice in any jurisdiction, I think benchmark projects trigger no antitrust wrongs. No one conspires in restraint of trade – except perhaps to pay less to law firms – and no one fixes prices, although they may want to find ways to pay less to law firms.

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