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EMEA benchmarking data and four comparisons to US benchmark numbers

A benchmarking study of law departments in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) collected data for 2008 from 123 departments. Conducted by Laurence Simons, a leading legal recruitment firm, and this author, the report is available for a nominal cost from Laurence Simons. The report contains recommendations for most of the benchmarks as to how to alter your law department’s metrics.

Four differences stand out between the EMEA and US data.

Higher number of lawyers per staff member than in the US. The difference results partly from the scarcity of paralegals in EMEA.

About three quarters of the total legal spend per lawyer. The gap may be due to less litigation, or it may be due to the higher number of lawyers in the EMEA departments (see the previous point).

Higher proportion of total legal spend comes from internal budget. Whereas in the US, a typical ratio of total legal spend is 40 percent inside and 60 percent outside, this survey found that at the median and average in EMEA, 52 percent came from inside.

Lower fully-loaded cost per hour. The EMEA median figure was considerably less than comparable numbers derived from US law departments. This finding is even more striking in that about 50 of the participants were EMEA units of US companies.

These four findings leave a consistent impression. In Europe as compared to the United States, legal spend tilts more toward the inside and is more lawyer-heavy, but the individual lawyers don’t cost as much.

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