A study of French law departments, conducted by Juristes Associes in 2006, included almost 100 legal departments (See my post of May 6, 2007 for some other findings.). Of that group, 64 percent had between one and five lawyers; 23 percent had between 6 and 10; 12 percent 11 to 25; and two percent had more than 100 lawyers. That distribution of law department sizes probably holds fairly true in the United States, and perhaps in a number of other developed countries. Over half are very small, while at least three quarters of the law departments are of modest size – ten or fewer lawyers (See my posts of Aug. 26, 2006 on large law departments in France; April 13, 2006 on in-house UK lawyers; Oct. 19, 2005 #2 on in-house lawyers in China; and June 30, 2006 for Australian metrics.).
Reflective of a different educational system in France for lawyers, the survey notes that 69 percent of the in-house counsel have a troisième cycle postgraduate degree, 11 percent have passed the bar exam and 16 percent have a maîtrise. For moi, that sentence and those credentials has more than a soupcon of je ne sais quoi.